The Sports Scoop

My View on the World of Sports

A Breakdown of the Physically Toughest Sports

If you follow any kind of sport, you understand that certain qualities are desirable.  Characteristics such as speed, power, and agility are a few desirable attributes for athletes to possess.  Another trait associated with various sports is toughness.  Being tough can mean different things to different individuals, but the general idea that you need a certain level of fortitude to engage in sports is universal.


I decided to attempt to figure out what sport you have to be physically toughest to play.  Since toughness can be interpreted in so many different ways, I elected to create some criteria upon which I will base my selections.  I have come up with five ways to measure the toughness of a sport.


The first criterion is the risk for injury.  While you can get injured playing virtually any sport, the threat of being hurt playing ping pong differs greatly from playing football.  In my eyes, a sport that has a high risk for injury takes a tougher person to play.


Second is the tolerance for pain.  This factor has to be looked at in the broadness of the sport rather than the narrowness of each individual.  Some athletes can endure more than others, but sports such as marathon running and Olympic lifting innately require a high pain tolerance.


The third aspect is the nature of reckless abandon in the sport.  We have all heard the term “sacrificing your body,” and that is exactly what I am referring to.  An example would be going after a puck when you know you will be smashed into the boards, which takes plenty of courage and toughness.


Next, the length of one’s career in a sport is a good indicator of how tough it is.  Usually, the shorter the career, the more physically challenging the sport is.  Boxing is notorious for fighters retiring early in their careers because of the physical demands of the sport.


The final criterion is the average person’s willingness to participate in the sport.  I am basing this off of my assessment, but I would be willing to bet that most would agree with me when I say that I would rather try swimming than head down to Australia and get assaulted playing rugby.  The exception would be rugby players, of course.


I ranked fifteen of the more physically demanding traditional sports, one through five, based on each of these factors.  After totaling up the numbers for each sport, I was able to conclude what the physically toughest sport is.  Keep in mind two things.  I don’t consider mixed martial arts (ultimate fighting), which would be number one if included, to be a traditional sport, and mental toughness is not included in this assessment, that is a whole different story.


Wrestling, Olympic lifting, and lacrosse narrowly missed the list, but without further delay, here’s the list of the top five:


5.  Marathon running – Tolerance for pain and a lack of desire for the average person to participate were major factors here.  Remember how miserable it was running the mile in middle school gym class?  It’s only that 26.2 times.

4.  Football – Reckless abandon and risk of injury are certainly high in this sport.  Much depends on the position you play and wearing pads helps prevent some injuries, but you still have to be plenty tough out there.

3.  Hockey – I gave hockey similar scores to football, but it edges ahead for two reasons.  First, you can do much more damage with a stick and puck than a football, and second, fighting is very common and surprisingly condoned.

2.  Rugby – It was difficult to put rugby at two.  It is more of a 1b.  Rugby is as physical as any sport and participants don’t wear pads, which definitely earns them some toughness points.  Having completely no regard for your body or well being pretty much sums it up.

1.  Boxing – What really got boxing the top spot was the lack of career length.  It’s common to see boxers leave the sport in their prime because it’s just too much.  Boxing received high marks for all categories, and like these other sports, it can result in some serious long-term injuries.


May 3, 2007 Posted by | Boxing, Football, Hockey, Rugby, Sports | 30 Comments

The season of meaning is upon us

Around this time of year, there is plenty to be excited about in sports.  March Madness, the start of the baseball season, NBA and NHL playoff races, you know what I am talking about.  There is a distinct connection between all of these events which makes this time so special.  All of these games are played with meaning and purpose.

It could be a single elimination tournament, you might need to win two out of three games to make it to the post season, or you might want to start the season off on the right foot, but the players actually play and the fans actually care during this time of the year.

Compare this to mid-June when (insert your favorite baseball team here) are playing their 50th or so game of the season.  The mentality at that time is completely different.  It is like, “Who cares if we lose this one, we still have over a hundred more games to play.”  Not only for the players, but the fans, too.

This will never happen, but the MLB and NBA ought to make their schedules considerably shorter. 

From a sport standpoint, there is no reason to have such long schedules.  162 MLB games and 82 NBA games?  I say cut those numbers in half.  Players and fans alike start to lose interest.  Individual games start to take on less and less meaning because there are so many more games to get back on track.  There is no sense of urgency.

From a revenue standpoint, I understand why the seasons are drawn out.  Lots of games equals lots of money, I get it.

The NFL is one league that has it right, which is one reason why it’s passing up baseball as America’s favorite sport, if it hasn’t already.  Every game has a large impact on the season as a whole.  Players can’t just take a day off and go at it hard tomorrow.  Fans cannot wait until Sunday rolls around.  The league has the whole package.  It’s exciting and meaningful; I wish other leagues would take note.

I don’t really have a clever way to end this post, I’m drawing a blank.  No big deal though.  After all, the blog season is year round, so who really cares about this meaningless entry.

April 7, 2007 Posted by | Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Sports | 1 Comment

McHale is NOT the Best GM in Sports recently released its list of the top General Managers in all of sports.  The article wrote about this can be found here.

Basically, Forbes looked at the four major sports and tried to pick out the best GM.  Their criteria were two fold.  First, they looked at how each team performed prior to the arrival of their current GM and compared it to how they performed with their previous GM.  Second, they looked at how each team’s payroll compares to the league median.  The first criterion was weighted twice as important since winning is the ultimate measure of success.

After all of the numbers were crunched, Kevin McHale, the GM for the Minnesota mchale1.jpgTimberwolves, emerged as the best there is.  What a joke!  This is why Forbes should never try to report information relating to sports.  Ever.

McHale should not even be in the top 10.  The data is skewed because the Timberwolves were absolutely horrible before he took over.  Now that they are average, it seems like he had something to do with it.  A guy named Kevin did have something to do with it, but that is Kevin Garnett. 

If anything, McHale should be looked at as one of the worst GM’s in sports for not putting the right pieces around KG.  Garnett is an unbelievable talent, and I think it’s McHale’s fault that the Wolves haven’t been able to make a serious title run during the Garnett era.  They had a little something going with Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell, but that got broken up.  Now they are sinking back into mediocrity.

Forbes could have randomly selected a GM and been more on target than they were with McHale.  I don’t know who the best GM out there is, although Jerry Angelo, Billy Beane, Joe Dumars, Brian Cashman, and even Jerry Jones come to mind, but I know that it definitely is not Kevin McHale.

March 5, 2007 Posted by | Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Kevin McHale, MLB, NBA, News, NFL, NHL, Sports | 3 Comments