The Stigma of Extreme Sports

L.A. Fielding and family at Powder KingHow I am changing the stigma of extreme sports with my children’s book series, The X-tails.

I am still puzzled why extreme sports have such a bad reputation. The “X” in X-tails is for extreme. I find it interesting that when I mention the word “extreme,” it’s assumed by some that my books may not be suited for their young ones. How many kids and parents bike, skateboard, snowboard, or ski? In reality, extreme sports are simply just sports.

When I created the X-tails, one of my goals was to bring a positive image to these sports. Because I have enjoyed these sports as a child and now as an adult, I want others to see these sports in a positive light as well. Years ago, I had a literary agent tell me that my idea of the X-tails was too small of a niche and it wouldn’t work for children’s books. I was surprised by that comment because extreme sports or the action/adventure sports industry was already a $658 billion industry in 2012.  Snowboarding, skiing, and BMX are all Olympic sports and involve some of the best athletes in the world.

I think what makes these sports so great are the positive role models, amazing athleticism, sportsmanship, strong friendships, and unbelievable tricks. I met some of my closest friends through my involvement in these sports.

The X-tails series will soon have six books about extreme sports and each book has its own positive theme: snowboarding (theme: believe in yourself), skiing (theme: inclusion and different abilities), skateboarding (theme: sharing), surfing (theme: bullying), BMXing (theme: sportsmanship and saying “I can” instead of “I can’t”), and dirt biking (theme: respect the environment).

It has been three and a half years since my first book came out, The X-tails Snowboard at Shred Park, and I am proving the nay-sayers wrong. The response to my books has been incredible; children, parents, grandparents and teachers love the stories. I know in time, my books will change the opinions of many others.

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