Going to Extremes

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Forget team spirit. Participation in group sports is on the decline as extreme sports gain momentum among individual thrill-seekers. According to American Sports Data, snowboarding skyrocketed to 7 million participants last year, expanding by 51 percent between 1999 and 2000. Skateboarding increased by 49 percent to 12 million enthusiasts, far outpacing tackle football, which grew by only 15 percent to 6 million players in 2000. Gen Y males are driving much of the growth in extreme sports, which appeal to individualists with a need for speed, according to the report. In addition, a kinder, gentler attitude toward sports is shrinking the ranks of pistol packers who engage in traditional “blood� sports, including clay pigeon shooting (down 24 percent), target shooting (down 14 percent), and bow hunting (down 11 percent).

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