Extreme sports hero Travis Pastrana will attempt to jump a rally car 200 feet on New Year’s Eve, hopefully doubling the current world record for rally car jumping. As if that’s not crazy enough, Pastrana plans to jump the car off California’s Long Beach pier and land on a barge sitting in the ocean. Apparently, this rally car jump was the stunt Pastrana and Red Bull chose in order to “advance the sport.” It’s a statement that makes me scratch my head and wonder, “is jumping a rally car 200 feet really a sport?”
I don’t want to diminish Pastrana’s feat. I have no doubt that the logistical planning and automotive handling skills involved with launching a tiny Subaru off an ocean pier are immense. Not to mention the courage it takes to stomp on the gas and steer your car off the earth and into the ocean. Dude has a pair. I know I could never do such a thing, and not just because my wife would divorce me, but because I’m just not that brave.
But, “sport”? I don’t know about that. Jumping a car is a skill, sure. An art, maybe. But sport? I have the same questions whenever I see ESPN “Ocho’s” coverage of snowmobile sprint races. Or NASCAR. I mean, let’s be honest, the car is doing most of the work here. Again, I’m not saying snowmobile racers, NASCAR drivers, and rally car jumpers aren’t skilled individuals. They are. But so is Steven Purrugganan, the current cup stacking world record holder, and I don’t think anyone’s rushing to call the fine art of cup stacking a “sport.”
But then, maybe I’m being too harsh. I don’t have a concrete definition of “sport,” and Webster’s definition is sufficiently vague to include just about anything. “Sport (Noun, 15th century) a: a source of diversion; recreation b : sexual play c (1) : physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2) : a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in.”
Still, I like to think I know a sport when I see it. Naked Jello wrestling: definitely a sport. Fingers crossed you’ll see it in the 2012 London Olympics. While jumping a car off a pier is certainly a feat worthy of Red Bull’s sponsorship dollars, I don’t think it’s a sport.
BRO readers, what do you think? Are cup stacking and rally car jumping really “sports”?