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Survival the Extreme Sport

By James Folsom,

In this era of new "extreme sports", from MMA, to gladiator type endurance race events (such as Warrior Dash and Spartan Race) how about this for extreme:

Survival - the Extreme Sport

We already have the TV Show "Survivor" that has managed to make a sport of it to a point. So how difficult would it be to make up a set of rules and a scoring system based on survival skills? There could be competitions where individuals are placed in remote settings with whatever they can carry in a back pack. They could be given a certain time period such as three days, a week, etc. to find or make shelter, find food, locate or be located rescue personnel, etc.

Survival Points

There could be points given for the most creative methods of survival. If you don't know survival ... then take the time to learn from websites such as This site teaches several important aspects of urban and wilderness survival skills. Once you understand and have experience in survival, you can take part in the actual sport of survival. Points could be given on obtaining clean water, food, warmth, etc. The military uses exercises such as these in their training for Special Forces. There could be a scoring system based on how they determine who is the best of the best. There could also be challenges that are given to the competitors like they do in the TV Shows. Meet the challenges and get points for it. These challenges could be physical or perhaps mental as well.

Keeping it Relatively Safe, but Still Dangerous

Of course the participants would have to be monitored somehow to ensure their safety. We can't have a sport where participants could actually die. This somewhat defeats the purpose of a "survival" sport doesn't it? If there is no "Life or Death" element to it, then it isn't real. If one finds himself stranded in the mountains because of a snowstorm for example, that person is literally in survival mode. In other words it is a possibility, maybe even a probability that he or she is going to die out there.

So to make this some sort of competition, how do we make it as real as possible without someone actually getting killed (other than by freak accident)? Participants sometimes get killed racing cars or boats, for example, but nobody goes into a race thinking that there is only about a 50% chance they will survive the event.

"Take Me Out, I Give Up"

Perhaps a way to do this is to give each contestant a special flare gun that if they decide that they are in real danger, they can shoot that flare gun and signal that they forfeit the competition and that a rescue team can come and pick them up. At least this way the "fear of dying" can be incorporated into the game without the actual death of the participants. Perhaps the winner of the competition could be the last to fire his flare?

Or perhaps just a simple GPS unit with a beacon that's activated when the button is pushed. A recent survival expedition show from the Discovery Channel, filmed in Venezuela, Out of the Wild, used this method as a way for folks on the expedition to give up and be rescued.

If done right, this could be a very interesting new sport. Anyone with outdoor experience could be a potential participant. There would be no real advantage to being of a certain gender or ethnic type. No advantage to being big or small, not even really young or older. The real advantage would be to the smarter and the mentally tougher, the survivor who knows and practices survival, even in extreme environments, such as mountain survival, wilderness survival, and winter survival.

And as far as "Survival the Extreme Sport" being entertaining, if it is done right, I would watch it. People have been watching "Survivor" for years now, right?

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