Developing an intimate "relationship" with nature through extreme sports participation
This article explores the interplay between extreme sports and the natural world in which they take place. Prior theoretical work on extreme sports has often made anthropocentric assumptions about this relationship, taking for granted that extreme participants treat nature only as a resource for athletic consumption, valuable only for its human uses. From this perspective, the natural world is regarded as a playground or battlefield, as a means to test physical prowess and human capacity. In contrast, extreme sports participants involved in this study report developing an intimate and reciprocal relationship with the natural world. A phenomenological analysis of partici- pant accounts reveals, among veteran extreme athletes, the development of a heightened respect for something greater than themselves and a realization that humanity is simply a part of the natural environment.