Why do we thrill-seek?

12ThrillSeekingI just returned from a motorcycle adventure ride that was so challenging I actually feel shorter. While most motorcyclists were heading to Rolling Thunder, a few crazy guys were traveling across Virginia and West Virginia on what I was told would be “a pretty easy off-road ride with mostly graveled forest roads.” I was thinking Jeep trails, which for the most part it was. It’s the parts that are not Jeep trails that make "adventure riding" adventure riding. Little did I know I would be experiencing narrow trails almost like jungle canopy, red-clay slippery mud, 400-foot drop-offs and many water crossings.

At moments, I asked myself, “What am I doing this for? I’m tired; I hurt. Should I sell my dual-sport bike, get me a nice traveling bike and stick to the roads?” Getting stuck in what I will call mud quicksand took us two hours to get out of and required us to build a makeshift bridge in the middle of nowhere.

My wife watched my exploits on Facebook and said to me, “There is no way that looks fun at all.” Every night, I agreed with her. Strangely, the day after I got back home, my body was in full-on travel mode. I wanted to get back on that bike and ride. Then I found myself wondering what my next trip would be. Crazy, right?

Most of my life has been in and around military, firemen and policemen. All of these jobs are high-risk jobs. Their friends and family worry every day if they will get back home. They, in turn, go to work every day and dream of some sane job doing something safe — but they choose to get back on it.

Thrill-seeking and risk-taking varies. For some, going to a scary movie is enough. For many, it is jumping on a motorcycle and going for a ride. For others, it is parachuting or tickling a bear’s belly. So, where does this motivation come from?

The amygdala is the answer. It's a small, almond-shaped set of neurons in the brain's medial temporal lobe, which is kind of the center of the brain. Here, our mind processes a convergence of inputs of chemicals the body produces. These chemicals are generated based on what our senses tell our mind, and the body produces respondents. If danger is perceived — real or not — it triggers our instinct to respond to the situation. Part of our instinct is stimulated by our body’s ability to produce adrenaline, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Together, they produce substances that stimulate positive and even euphoric feelings. Our body gets high from accomplishing or surviving something.

Adrenaline is the chemical that gets us ready for action when we perceive danger. It is that moment that often defines success or failure.

Endorphins keep up our endurance. It is the runner’s drive and ultimate will to keep going when their body tells them to quit or walk.

Serotonin feeds brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation and some social behavior. Serotonin aids a wide variety of tasks in the body and is often called the “happy chemical” because it works for our wellbeing and happiness.

Dopamine comes up when we are attempting to accomplish a challenge. It’s that decision-making process that says “Hey, let's go jump in the ocean, feed sharks and take pictures.” Together, these chemicals are highly addictive and connive to drive us to seek out that thrill or scary challenge.

Thrill-seekers often operate in unpredictable situations. Thrill-seekers are usually not good with being deliberate, focused, concentrated or patient. They overcome these things by being prepared, training for situations, doing mental rehearsals or having an excellent medical plan.

To keep us in check, the brain's frontal lobe acts as an internal control panel that gives us cognitive skills like problem-solving, language, judgment, sexual behavior and emotional expressions. It gives us our personality and ability to communicate. It is also the part of the brain that tells us, “Danger. Stop. This is not safe.”

I deduce that the most significant challenge for the thrill-seeker is between their amygdala and frontal lobe. They have to calculate the amount of risk, gain and loss they're willing to give for their next adventure.

If there is a topic you would like to discuss, email motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!

Test your knowledge of local baseball history

05BabeRuthThe recent arrival of the Woodpeckers and the Segra Stadium represent a new page in the long history surrounding baseball. Most of us are familiar with the recent history of local baseball to include the Generals and the Crocks, and some will even remember the Highlanders. This article will test your knowledge of the earlier Fayetteville history concerning one of America’s favorite sports.

Q: When and under what circumstances did baseball as we know it arrive in North Carolina?

A: It was during the Civil War. A group of Union prisoners in 1863 engaged in games of baseball at the prisoner-of-war camp located in Salisbury.

Q: When was baseball first played in Fayetteville, and what was the name of the first team?

A: Baseball was first played in Fayetteville in 1867. The first team was named the Lafayette Club, in honor of Fayetteville’s namesake, Gen. Lafayette. He was a young French nobleman who aided the colonies during the American Revolution.

Q: Where was baseball first played in Fayetteville?

A: The first game was played on an empty lot off Rowan Street but quickly shifted to the Military Green, which served as a militia parade field. The Military Green was located where the Transportation & Local History Museum is now located at 325 Franklin St., just a few blocks from the new Segra Stadium.

Q: When did African American baseball teams begin to play in Fayetteville?

A: An African American club was formed soon after the Lafayette Club. The local newspaper reported in July 1867 that the Fayetteville African American Baseball Club would be engaged in competition against a team in Charleston South Carolina. The name of one of the early Fayetteville African American teams was the Teasers.

Q: How much did it cost to watch a baseball game in Fayetteville during the late 1800s?

A: The admission was between 5 and 10 cents, and to encourage ladies to attend, they were often admitted free.

Q: How did our local citizens support Fayetteville teams playing out of town?

A: Bit by the baseball fever bug, many local citizens would board steamboats or trains and travel to other towns to root for the Fayetteville teams. Fayetteville and Cumberland County were consumed with the spirt and enthusiasm of baseball fever.

Q: By the early 20th century, Fayetteville had the reputation of having one of the best baseball fields in the South. Where was it located?

A: It was located at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds, where the Department of Transportation is now located, at Gillespie Street and Southern Avenue. The fairgrounds featured a covered grandstand and an oval track with the baseball diamond laid out in the middle of the track.

Q: When did Fort Bragg first get involved with local baseball?

A: Camp Bragg was established in 1918, and within one year, the assigned soldiers formed teams and engaged in competitive games with Fayetteville teams and surrounding cities. They were part of the Red Circle Baseball League organized by the War Camp Community Service.

Q: What is Fayetteville’s earliest connection with professional baseball?

A: It dates back to 1909 with the incarnation of the Fayetteville Highlanders, which was a Class D Eastern Carolina League franchise in 1909- 1910. The Highlanders won the 1910 ECL title with the help of future sports legend Jim Thorpe.

Q: What is Fayetteville’s connection with the famous “Babe” Ruth?

A: On March 7, 1914, while playing an intra-squad exhibition game at the Cape Fear Fairgrounds, Babe Ruth hit his first home run in professional baseball. Ruth hit the ball a distance of 135 yards. It was Ruth’s fifth day as a professional, his first game, and his second time at bat. It was also here that he acquired the nickname “Babe.”

Q: What is the connection between Crown Ford automotive dealership near the intersection of Skibo Road and Bragg Boulevard and baseball?

A: Crown Ford occupies the land that was developed shortly after World War II as the Cumberland County Memorial Stadium, later renamed Pittman Stadium. From 1946 to 1956, the stadium was home to Fayetteville Cubs, A’s and Highlanders, which were minor league baseball teams. After the 1956 season, the Highlanders decided to disband the team, and shortly after that, Pittman Stadium closed.

Fayetteville is rich in baseball history. If you wish to explore this fascinating topic further, visit the “Fayetteville Baseball Fever” exhibit at the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum located at 325 Franklin St. The exhibit features a wealth of local history, trivia, photographs and artifacts. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. Tours and guest speakers can be arranged by calling 910-433-1457, 910-433-1458 or 910-433-1944.

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