Most Difficult Feats in Sports
Without preposterous moments of incredible athleticism, sports would be as vapid and hollow as a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion special.
And with the advent of the Internet, an athlete's ability to do something extraordinary (read: a triumph that can be conveniently shared as a GIF or YouTube clip) has never been more important.
From incredible displays of speed and strength to unbelievable demonstrations of creativity, these are the most difficult feats in sports.
Jumping from a Speedboat to Catch a Frisbee
As Performed by: Brodie Smith and friends
Bros, trick shots and YouTube are like three disgusting ingredients that, when combined, create a delicious purée.
In this clip, Brodie Smith fires a Frisbee off of a bridge, and his boys track it down on a speedboat with the proficiency of a Golden Retriever at the dog park.
The Front-Flip Touchdown
As performed by: Jerome Simpson
Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson probably could have kept his feet and scored on this play.
That said, this is 2013, and a touchdown without the zest to go viral is just another insipid afterthought on NFL RedZone.
We've seen players hurdle defenders, but shout-out to Simpson for going full-blown Mary Lou Retton and sticking the landing.
Using the Gutter to Drill a Strike
As Performed by: Josh Scanlan
In the bowling equivalent to Steven Seagal walking away from an explosion in slow motion, Josh Scanlan gives an understated fist pump to celebrate his insanely ridiculous strike.
A game of bowling is only $3, but it'd take every penny of Robinson Cano's new contract to recreate this roll.
Pegging a Ball Across the Infield from One’s Back
As Performed by: Ken Caminiti
As sports fans, we’re buttonholed by images of Willie Mays’ over-the-shoulder catch, Montana-to-Clark and Michael Jordan shooting over Craig Ehlo.
As great as those moments are for Wheaties commercials, none of them compare athletically to the undiluted nuclear energy of MLB’s steroid era.
With pronounced traps and erupting forearms, the barrel-chested Ken Caminiti embodied the comic book hero archetype of that time. Put forward for consideration, this throw as evidence that the guy had supernatural powers.
Clearing Four Tables' Worth of Pool Balls with Dominoes
As Performed by: Unknown
Granted, the athletic prowess of this particular feat leaves a bit to be desired. But, somehow, this pool shot is more impressive than a LeBron James windmill dunk or Evgeni Malkin breakaway goal.
When you consider what’s at stake if the shot fails (read: rebuilding this monstrosity of a physics experiment), this is a more composed and clutch achievement than Kerri Strug’s gold medal vault in the ’96 Olympics.
Diving in a Pool to Catch a Ball and Saving Your Beer
As Performed by: Mike Moon
Presumably, this fan had a few drinks in his system when he snagged this screaming Adrian Gonzalez home run ball, which makes the whole effort even more impressive. After all, one does not go diving into a pool Iggy Pop-style without a few drinks under their belt.
As an added wrinkle to the already absurd web gem, the guy saves his beer. Given the exorbitant markup of stadium beverages, this play is as financially responsible as it is utterly amazing.
The Backwards Chip Shot
As Performed by: Phil Mickelson
As the country club’s David Blaine, Phil Mickelson has a reputation for wielding his club set like a Callaway-branded wizard.
In this especially impressive example of otherworldly powers, Lefty drops a ball near the hole by flipping a shot over his shoulder.
Dunking over a 7-Footer
As Performed by: Vince Carter
Poor Frederic Weis. The 7'2" Frenchman seems to have adopted his defensive style of play from watching tape of old people waiting for buses.
As it turns out, loitering won't do much to slow down Vince Carter.
Employing Telekinesis to Score a Goal
As Performed by: Alex Mason
I'm not exactly sure how this goal was scored, but I think it has something to do with Alex Mason's ability to manipulate physical objects with his mind.
Along with a healthy diet and strength training, developing psychic powers can do wonders for a person's athletic performance.
The 300-Foot Strike
As performed by: Bo Jackson
But, considering how poorly positioned the White Sox outfielder was when he caught the ball, this bomb is in a league of its own.
In his prime, Jackson could probably rain fadeaway jumpers from half court.
A 59.5" Box Jump
As Performed by: J.J. Watt
At nearly 300 pounds, J.J. Watt either needs a forklift or the core strength of an anaconda to get five feet off of the ground.
Spoiler alert: No heavy machinery was used in the making of this video.
The 10-Man Pool Alley-Oop
As Performed by: 10 guys who do it for the love of the game
As the piano is to Beethoven, pool slides are to bored dudes. And the gentlemen in this clip created an absolute masterpiece.
Behold the magic of a summer day in suburbia.
A Soul- Jarring Hit
As Performed by: Jadeveon Clowney
Sure, it would have been nice for someone on Michigan's offensive line to put a hat on the SEC's most distinguished defensive player, but praise be to the GIF gods for this especially egregious blown assignment.
This is what happens when a 270-pound man with a 4.46 40-yard dash time gets a free pass into the backfield.