Some people think that governments should ban dangerous sports, while others think people should have freedom to do any sports or activity. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Band 8.5 Sample 1
It is commonly believed that extreme sports should be strictly prohibited due to the huge number of risks involved. In this essay, I am going to demonstrate that risk factors are present in all sports before suggesting that people should have the right to play any sports they want.
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Advocates of banning certain sports may argue that their inherently dangerous nature may threaten lives. As extreme conditions are a prerequisite for these sports, risks like equipment failure render players more vulnerable than in other sports. For example, skydivers who freefall from enormous altitudes seem more prone to injuries or even death than players of ordinary sports. However, in reality, all physical activities carry a certain degree of risks, and it is difficult to judge which one is more hazardous than the other. For instance, acute pains like ankle sprains are prevalent in football or basketball as a result of intense practice drills and frequent matches, but it is unlikely that these sports will be banned given their popularity. Besides, people must undergo rigorous tests to ensure they are physically and mentally conditioned before participating in dangerous sports. Therefore, concerns over the safety of extreme athletes are quite irrelevant.
I believe that people should have the autonomy to play any sports they want, regardless of their danger. This is because they can already decide for themselves whether to take part in a number of dangerous non-sport activities. For example, those who reach the legal drinking age are free to purchase alcohol, the excessive consumption of which may have fatal consequences. If personal freedom is championed with regard to things like alcohol, it is argued that it should be extended to sporting pursuits as well. Instead of an outright ban on extreme sports, I believe there are ways to mitigate the risks attached with them. Sports associations could impose an age limit for extreme athletes in order to ensure only people who are fully developed physically are allowed to participate. Another solution is to bar players from practicing or competing without the necessary protective gear. These measures would strike a happy medium without intruding people’s personal freedom.
In conclusion, I believe people are entitled to play dangerous sports if they want, and certain restrictions in lieu of a ban would help ease the safety concerns.
Band 8.0 Sample 2
The media commonly provide a barrage of news about dangerous sports, because the deaths and injuries associated with them often make for spectacular headlines. As a result, some people have argued that all extreme sports should be banned, although I would argue that such a policy would be out of all proportion to the real risks involved.
Those in favour of prohibiting people from taking part in dangerous sports tend to focus on the risk element. Even when individuals may be physically and mentally prepared to participate in extreme sports activities, and even when they have all the right gear, the dangers are ever-present. To take an example, few sports are as challenging and fraught with danger as BASE jumping. Participants hurl themselves off cliffs, and few escape without suffering severe bruising or acute abdominal pains which normally last for several days. In addition, although sports equipment rarely malfunctions, this may still happen and the consequences may be fatal. The supporters of legislation to ban dangerous sports argue that such tragic outcomes not only affect the individual victims, but also leave mental scars which their families then have to live with for the rest of their lives.
However, I support the view of those who contend that participation in extreme sports must be a matter of personal choice. Firstly, overcoming physical challenges may be a springboard for positive personal transformation. It may make a person stronger and more determined, and the experience may be a life-changing one. Secondly, the rigours of preparation in order to go mountain-climbing, white-water rafting or other such extremely strenuous activities demand that an individual is in the peak of health and physical condition. Finally, there is an ethical aspect which dictates that a person should have the freedom to pursue the challenges which they set themselves, even though this may involve a level of risk which others might find unacceptable.
In conclusion, while acknowledging the real risks, I would defend the right of any individual to take part in the extreme sport of their choice.