By Jeanette Larson
Length of Program
Teens are attracted to extreme sports for many reasons, including the danger, or perceived danger, the adrenaline rush, status of the athletes, and doing something many others will not try, which may be explained by recent research findings concerning the teen brain. (For more information, see Inside the Teenage Brain.) This program is an extreme events festival that explores some of these high intensity sports and introduces teens to extreme athletes. Teens will watch demonstrations of extreme sports, examine extreme sports equipment, learn about safety, and, if desired, write about extreme sports.
Invite a local sporting supply store to set up a display of extreme sports equipment. Gather books about extreme sports. Look around your community for athletes who can talk about or demonstrate extreme sports. Invite several to participate in an extreme events festival at the library. If you want to include the writing component, find local writers, English teachers, or sports writers who can direct the activity.
Books to Display
- Answer is Never: A Skateboarder's History of the World by Jocko Weyland.
- Climbing Everest: Tales of Triumph and Tragedy on the World’s Highest Mountain by Audrey Salkeld.
- The Edge by Ben Bo.
- Extreme Sports by John Crossingham and Bobbie Kalman.
- Paintball by Terri Sievert.
- Surfer Girl: A Guide to the Surfing Life by Sanoe Lake and Steven Jarrett.
Books to Booktalk
- Death Wind by William Bell.
- El Capitan: Historic Feats and Radical Routes by Daniel Duane.
- Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks by Clint Willis.
- Slalom by S. L. Rottman.
- The Summit by Gordon Korman.
If space permits, invite a local sporting supply store to set up a display of extreme sports equipment, such as a surfboard or surfing gear, climbing equipment, a white water raft, or a hang glider. If your library does not have space for larger items, or there are security concerns, ask for smaller gear and add pictures of larger items from sports magazines. Add library books on extreme sports to complete the display.
Demco offers posters in their “Edge Up” series that feature edgier sports, including running and stair climbing. Purchase one or more of the posters to display in the teen area.
Mountain Dew has traditionally been a sponsor of the X-Games and the drink is considered by many to be a hallmark of extreme sports. Serve cans of Mountain Dew during the program.
Demco sells “On the Edge” bookmarks featuring extreme sports to give to program participants.
Rhymes and Poetry
Read “The Surfer or Bliss on a Board” and “Surf” in The Sidewalk Racer and Other Poems of Sports and Motion by Lillian Morrison. Alternatively, photocopy this poem and others and glue them onto cardstock. Place the poems in picture frames or otherwise display them for quick reading.
Games and Activities
Although only a few teens may be interested in writing, sponsor an “Extreme Writers” club. Invite interested teens to meet weekly throughout the summer to write, analyze, and learn from other writers. Select a theme or genre for each week, such as mysteries, poetry, short stories, or e-zines. Invite writers from a local writers group, college, or from the community to share ideas, provide tips of the trade, and encourage the teens. To start the teens off, you might suggest a theme to focus the writing. For example, a quirky sport such as extreme ironing might be the hook for writing about other strange items that could be incorporated into a new sport. View the Wikipedia entry for “extreme ironing,” to learn more about this unusual sport where athletes take an ironing board to a remote location. Ask the teens for permission for the library to publish their work on the library’s web site or in a notebook for other teens to read.
You may wish to set up a portable climbing wall or other inflatable extreme sports equipment at the library. Party suppliers and local sporting goods stores may be willing to donate the equipment or provide it at a discount. Teens will enjoy trying an extreme sport in a safe environment. Be sure to have plenty of adult supervisors, and check local ordinances regarding inflatable or mobile equipment that is set up on city or county property. Liability insurance to cover any damage to the equipment may also be required by the rental company. Look locally for the equipment, and check out some of the options at Fun-Makers.
Invite a variety of extreme athletes, such as a mountain climber, motorcyclist, skydiver, or water skier, to demonstrate their sports and talk about their experiences. Also look for less well-known sports such as capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, ritual, and amazing acrobatics. Ask the athletes to bring samples of their equipment to show the teens. While many extreme sports can not be fully demonstrated in the limited area of the library or without specific equipment, including mountains and oceans, the athletes may be able to demonstrate exercises that improve their technique, how to use a specific piece of equipment, or a tricky move. For example, surfers have to learn to “pop up” from a flat position on the board to a standing position, which they must practice on dry land before hitting the waves! If the sport does not lend itself to any type of demonstration, ask the presenter to share video clips, slides, or photographs.
Videos/DVDs to Show or Display
- Brink! (90 minutes)
- Johnny Tsunami. (88 minutes)
- North Shore. (96 minutes)
- Step Into Liquid. (87 minutes)
- Ultimate X: The Movie. (47 minutes)
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.
- Planet Capoeira.
- SG (Surfing Girl).
- Candy Stand
- Kraft Foods hosts this kid-friendly assortment of on-line games that includes extreme sports, such as snowboard jumping and Arctic racing.
- Crazy Fads
- They may not seem extreme now, but check out some of the popular sports and hobbies from past decades.
- Kids Zone X Sports Zone
- Information and tips for some of the most extreme sports.
- Mountain Dew
- Meet some of the stars of Mountain Dew’s X-games, play on-line games, and view the latest television ads.
- Surfing Waves
- A beginner’s guide to surfing, this site includes on-line video lessons, information about waves, equipment, and terminology, and a ton of surfing pictures.
- The Sidewalk Racer and Other Poems of Sports and Motion by Lillian Morrison.
- Purchase sports themed posters and bookmarks from this library supplier.
- Check out this party supplier to see the range of inflatable and portable sports equipment available. Items available include Sumo Wrestling, Iron Man Obstacle Course, and Climbing Walls.
- Inside the Teenage Brain
- PBS Frontline series explores how science may explain the mysteries of the teen years.
- This on-line encyclopedia is compiled and edited collaboratively by volunteers. The content is rapidly developed using open source software, ensuring that many very contemporary topics are included and current information is updated quickly.