Hervé le Gallou said “I just go for pleasure. There is still some stress, some
fear, because there is some danger. But I know exactly what I can do. I know where is my limit.” Just as Le Gallou base jumped for pleasure, so does my cousin, Jonathan So (12 years old), short track speed skate for fun. And there is much danger present, maybe not as fatal as base jumping, but traveling up to 30 MPH on 1-mm thick, razor-sharp blades with up to 5 other people can be pretty darn scary.
On March 21, 2014, at Hardees Iceplex in Chesterfield, MO, Jonathan stepped onto the ice for his 1000 meter final, a very important and result-changing race. He really needed the points if he wanted to get on the podium. During the course of the race, three skaters (including him) fell, with him sustaining a cut on his leg and a ripped skinsuit. However, as is allowed, he chose to stay on the ice for the restart of the race. This decision ultimately led to his victory, as he cruised to a solid victory (his main competitor had been disqualified for causing the fall in the first race). When I later asked Jonathan why he had stayed on the ice, he replied that it was because speed skating was important to him because it was fun. The joy he felt speed skating was enough to overcome his pain and fear, allowing him to be successful. I believe Le Gallou would be proud of Jonathan. It was Le Gallou’s love and enjoyment of base jumping that allowed him to be successful and I hope Jonathan is on the same track.
Now, some would argue that Jonathan should have been taken off the ice, with him being injured and so young. And, to be honest, I would have to agree. In his injured and shocked state, Jonathan could have easily fallen again, causing harm to the other skaters. Mill would agree with my assessment, as one cannot be allowed to let their decision to place themselves in danger put others in danger.
On October 26, 2014, the Group A Men’s Intramural Soccer Championship took place at the IM Building. The two teams, Stan and Nakey As Cheeseburgers, fought long and hard, with Stan ultimately winning 10-9. My roommate (a former varsity soccer player), who was on Stan, said that IM soccer was fun because it did not require as much energy as regular soccer and was not as damaging. Now, I believe Le Gallou would respect my roommate’s point of view as he “rarely pressed beyond his limits. Mavericks do not survive 18 years in a sport like base“. Of course, soccer is not exactly life-threatening, but danger of injury is still very relevant. Mill would also respect this attitude, as one should be in control of the harm they inflict on themselves.
In the end, although these three sports could not be more different, I believe that both Le Gallou and Mill would be similarly appreciative of the respective athlete’s mindsets.