13 Scariest Things in Sports
The only time of year it's acceptable to dress like an idiot in public and gorge on pounds of delicious candy. Also, the one night when scaring the bejesus out of people, regardless of age, is not only allowed, but celebrated.
In true B/R fashion, I'm spinning this tradition toward the sports world.
Ghosts and demons and chainsaw killers will always have a place in Halloween lore. But, there are some paranormal activities happening on the regular in sports, too.
If you think Halloween is scary, imagine taking on any of these unlucky 13 sports thrillers.
Okay, it's not a "thing" necessarily. Ray Lewis is more like...a gigantic, muscular beast who hits people for fun.
If there's one guy in the NFL you don't want to mess with, it's Lewis.
He has been the most intimidating linebacker in the NFL for years now and anchors one of the most ferocious defenses in the league.
The worst part about him?
He's got a nice, calm demeanor off the field, he makes legal hits and is a good sport.
Not only is he going to knock your head off if you come across the middle, but he's going to celebrate over you, help you up and send you a Christmas card.
Originally, I had this slide titled "Kimbo Slice." Then, I changed it to Houston Alexander (pictured). Then, Brock Lesnar. Anderson Silva. Chuck Liddell.
Then I realized...MMA is just damn scary.
It takes an incredible athlete to even have the strength and endurance to fight in mixed martial arts. Throw in the technical skill it takes to strike and wrestle that hard, and you have some massively athletic human beings.
I want to play a game: Name one MMA fighter who you would want to meet in a dark alley. Or a light alley. Or in church.
It doesn't matter; I'd still come away from the situation needing a fresh set of drawers.
Wingsuit Base Jumping
One of the scariest athletic acts I can imagine might also be the most badass. If I wasn't deathly afraid of...well, death, then I would absolutely love to give this flying squirrel junk a try.
What self-respecting human hasn't had dreams of flying? The wind through your helmet, the sharp jagged rocks tickling your underbelly, the fast-approaching, very hard ground...
There we go; that's where the scary comes in.
It takes balls to jump from a cliff and just free fall dangerously close to Mother Nature's deadliest formations, but is it worth it? I'll let you know when I try it.
Which will be when doctors have pronounced me nearly dead already. Until then, no thanks.
Enjoy these nut jobs base jumping with their wing suits, and live vicariously through them.
Facing the Big Unit
Six feet, 10 inches, 225 pounds of sheer mullet and stubble-lined snarl flying at you, whipping a ball 100 miles per hour at your tiny little head?
Fetal position, engage.
Randy Johnson was a physical specimen already when he burst onto the Major League Baseball scene. So, did he really have to grow out the filthy golden locks?
Randy regularly slung that lanky left arm at a sidearm angle, throwing triple-digit darts offset by splitting, diving sliders.
Anyone who has stepped into the box in baseball knows the intimidation that goes with it. It's hard enough to hit a baseball, let alone when it looks like it's coming from first base at your front hip every time.
I can hardly imagine being a left-handed batter against Johnson. Or a winged animal.
And that mean mug ain't helping matters.
I've made a killing off giving the Raiders crap. So many years of poor draft choices and losses on top of busts on top of more losses.
I have that cross-town "we're-undefeated-in-Super-Bowls-and-you-are-not" 49er fan superiority complex. Plus, we owned them.
But, I'm not going to pretend I would show up to a Raiders game and talk trash to anyone's face.
Those lovely guys and gals are extremely dedicated fans. Dedicated to scaring me senseless.
I swear, local costume shops must salivate at the business that weekend home games bring. And, don't be fooled into thinking that the most famous area of the stands is called "The Black Hole" because it's one of the team colors.
If you go into The Black Hole wearing a jersey containing any primary color, you're never coming back...
No, not the kind where you string up the line between two trees in a park and look like a kooky hippie as you wobble to keep your balance, God forbid you fall nine inches to the soft grass below.
I'm talking extreme slacklining, or highlighning.
That wing suit base jumping video is scary, but kind of cool. This one is just plain insanity.
I don't know about you, but I'm not trying to rely on a piece of rope and a carabiner to break my fall from thousands and thousands of feet in the air as I traverse a peak-to-peak gap JUST so I can tightrope across a nylon strap.
Not worth it.
Oh, by the way...the ones who use the makeshift harness are the ones who are playing it safe.
Check out the video: Screw. That.
One look down, and my brain is blacked out, my pants browned out. At least the base jumpers had a parachute, just in case. These guys just have death wishes.
I am inclined to agree with one of the commentators on this YouTube video, who claims the reason Dean Potter can make it across this terrifying gap without a harness is because his huge balls give him a low center of gravity that aids his balance.
Still...quite possibly the scariest thing I've ever seen someone do.
Of all shapes and sizes.
Cars, trucks, cars with huge parachutes, trucks with huge wheels, skis, bobsleds, cardboard sliding down hills...it's extremely dangerous. And dangerous is synonymous with scary.
Just in the last couple weeks, we've seen two awfully tragic, horrific crashes in racing that claimed the lives of two bright, young stars.
If you think a normal car accident on the highway is scary, try one that involves face-melting speeds, concrete walls and infernos. Or flying hundreds of feet through the air on two skinny pieces of wood, trying to stick it on a sheet of ice at the bottom.
First one to the finish line wins.
Or, you could just enjoy the competition from the sidelines like a normal human being.
A Shaq Dunk
Everyone loves Shaq. Except for dudes that he's posterized. And probably Kobe Bryant.
I'll tell you one thing: If I'm an opposing center and the Shaqtus gets that look in his eye coming down the lane, I'm getting the hell out of there.
The Big AARP is a man-child at 7'1" and 325 pounds. And, he played with a surprising seriousness and intensity, considering his off-court demeanor.
I just don't see how getting dunked on by Shaqfu would be anything less than terrifying. I can't imagine a more helpless feeling.
That's scary strong.
Sheldon Brown's Mask
I'm surprised the NFL didn't fine the Eagles' defensive back more than $10,000 just for the loss of revenue they must have suffered. There's no way a good portion of small children who saw this on national TV didn't go screaming for the remote, making a swift change to Teletubbies.
A professional football player is scary enough.
But, when one hard-hitting cornerback teams up with one of the freakiest horror film villains in movie history, we're talking sleep-with-the-lights-on scary.
Then, coming out of the tunnel with all the smoke and lights; it gives me chills.
Hey, Roger Goodell, does that count as excessive celebration of Halloween?
Seriously, is there any more intimidating warm-up routine than the New Zealand All Blacks' Haka?
For those of you who haven't seen it, give that video a quick peep. How does an opposing rugby squad plan to take down these freakishly big, possessed men who are so juiced up to hit someone that they bust out this organ-shriveling dance and primal chant?
The answer: they don't.
Nobody beats the All Blacks. I think the Miami Dolphins should give this a shot, since they certainly aren't intimidating anyone with their play.
Or, how would you have liked to see Albert Pujols do this before his at-bats in the World Series?
Forget all the rule changes in sports these days. What needs to go down is a requirement that each team has to create an equally awesome warm-up to the Haka and bust it out once a game.
Before you argue and say that fights are the best part of hockey or postgame handshakes or Ron Artest's career, take a look at the damage these fights can inflict.
All over a game that's sole purpose is to play for all-time bragging rights and a shiny trophy.
I absolutely understand the drive and determination athletes have to win and the reason they will do anything to get that trophy. I've been there; I get it.
But, I will never understand how emotions get so out of hand to render Rudy Tomjanovich's face like this.
Or, how fights in hockey, which has a hard ice surface/sharp skate/heavy wooden stick recipe that is just begging for trouble, go this horribly wrong. Moore broke his neck on that fall, ending his hockey career.
As much as we may like to see someone go after a pitcher after a little chin music or take a swing at an opposing player for a facemask, nothing is worth the potentially awful results.
Anything Involving Amphibious Creatures with Big Teeth and a Temper
So, this might not exactly be a sport, but it's a hobby that involves athletic equipment and physical ability, so I'm bending the rules a little bit.
I can't fathom how people make a lifetime out of wrestling crocodiles or even shark diving in a cage. Am I the only one whose biggest nightmare at the beach is floating on my Hello Kitty dingy in the water and being engulfed by the jaws of a huge, ugly fish?
And, why in the world would you mess with a muscled, scaly predator that has a notorious kill move called the "death roll?"
That just screams "RUN" to me!
My idea of fun definitely does not include getting into a Great White's native waters in a janky-looking cage with gaps just tight enough to keep a shark out, and then throwing bloody carcasses into the deep blue next to me so that the finned freaks go insane and start trying to eat everything they see.
That being said, big props to surfers, adventurists and deep-sea divers who risk these encounters regularly and live to tell about it.
I guess it goes to show that if you really love something, you won't even let a little tiger shark bite deter you.