The Toughest Tasks in Sports

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger Rob Yunich:

One of the oldest arguments around focuses on the toughest tasks in sports. Although creating such a list is a tough thing in and of itself, here’s my crack at it:

1. Hitting a Baseball
A hitter has about two seconds to decide whether to swing and must pick up the spin on a pitch going faster than most cars can legally travel (at least in the United States). And, let’s remember that even the best hitters (those that bat .300 and above) fail 70 percent of the time.

2. Pitching a Baseball
Good MLB starters throw 100 pitches in many starts, and that doesn’t include warm-up pitches. They are subject to painful blisters, severe arm injuries, and pretty much anything else that could happen standing just 60 feet six inches from home plate — including getting hit with a ball traveling directly back at them.

3. Playing Goalie in Ice Hockey
Stopping a three-inch piece of frozen vulcanized rubber traveling nearly 100 miles per hour, wearing at least 50 pounds of equipment (that becomes heavier as the game progresses and water accumulates), and having 200-plus-pound men run into you on a regular basis. Sounds like a fun night at the office.

4. Shooting Free Throws

Given the fact that “free” is part of the title, you would think that these shots would be easy points for most players throughout college and professional basketball. But how many times have you heard the phrase “Achilles heel” and free throw in the same sentence—especially this time of year? Yes, there are some players that make 90 percent of their foul shots, but that is becoming a growing minority.

The toughest task in my mind is playing goalie. In addition to the reasons listed above, you also have to remember that goalies must be incredibly fit and flexible, have virtually no peripheral vision while wearing their mask, must have amazing stick control, play the entire game (the only players on the ice that are asked to do that), and stop anywhere from 20-50 shots each night.


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