Adrenaline Junkies

A friend of mine recently posted this video of Dan Osman, extreme sportsman, on her Facebook page. In it, he basically scrambles up a 400 foot cliff in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. Without a rope.

While this is fascinating to watch, my first thought was, “I bet he doesn’t live long.”

And sure enough, a quick check of Wikipedia revealed that he died at age 35. He was jumping off the 1,200 foot rock formation below when his rope failed. Is it just me, or was that predictable? Physics. The great equalizer.

When I was younger, I might have admired his ability to live life to its fullest. And it can be assumed that he died while doing something he really, really loved to do. How many people will be able to say that?

But I’m not so young anymore, and I know what it’s like to experience grief. And because of that, I can only view this amazing man’s antics as a horrible waste. He left behind a daughter and other people who loved him. Was it worth it?

No man is an island… even if he is an adrenaline junkie. You don’t just live for yourself. You are living for others as well: People who need you. When people give you love, that also saddles you with a certain level of responsibility.

In this tribute video for Dan Osman, which shows some of his more hair-raising stunts, the first thing he says is “When this is all over, I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my daughter and family…” and one of the last things that is said in that video is that a friend who witnessed his death heard his final scream before he hit the trees.

When I see people, usually young men, participating in extreme sports, I have very mixed emotions. But the one that endures for me is sadness. The older I get and the more people I lose, the more I realize that life is a gift that’s more precious than any shot of adrenaline could ever be.

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7 thoughts on “Adrenaline Junkies

  1. 🙂 Great post, but I see this completely differently. I’ve sky dived, bungee jumped,.mountain climbed and you know I ride. People tell me all the time “You could die out there!” “Or someday a truck will smash you flat!”

    I just smile, saddle up and go again. Going out the way the rock scrambler did, is MUCH more preferable to me to getting old, or sick, and having my kids have to take care of me.

    Someday, I would love a grandkid to ask. “How did grandpa die?” And one of my sons getting a wry smile and saying. “Well son, now THERE is a story….”

    1. As long as you realize that while smiling, you son will also have tears in his eyes and an ache in his heart that never quite goes away, then go for it. I think there’s a happy medium between defying death and being a complete couch potato.

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