Swimming a More Difficult Sport Than American Football
Debate Rounds (2)
I have a great respect for athletes in every sport, and to say that one sport is more difficult than any other is a very tough thing to argue. Every sport is complex at the highest levels. Too look at swimming, it requires the ability to manage one's stamina over a certain amount of time. My opponent did not make the distinction as to what type of swimming we are talking about, be it distance or sprints, so I will assume we are referring to swimming as a whole. A sprint swimmer would likely put in everything that he/she has got right from the beginning of the race, while a distance swimmer would have to understand the exact amount of energy that he/she is capable of exuding in order to have enough energy left to finish the race.
An American football player is required to have different skill sets, and those skill sets are dependant on the positions each player plays. An offensive or defensive lineman is required to line up head to head with other incredibly strong opponents and put every ounce of strength into pushing that 300+ lbs opponent backwards, or holding him in place for 5-10 seconds. Corner backs have to run backwards and then turn and run full speed, trying to keep up with wide receivers, generally the fastest players on the field, and try and prevent them from catching the ball. Running backs have to take the ball and run into a crowd of very large, very strong opponents all looking to tackle them. They take helmets to the side of their knees and thighs constantly, and have to get up and do it over again. Quarterbacks have to read everything that is happening around them, be confident that his own team mates are running the designed play, watch out for the 4-5 players who are charged with the task of trying to tackle him and then throw a pass to the perfect spot that his receiver needs to be to make a catch, all in the span of 5-10 seconds .
The varied skills required in the game of football show how difficult the game can be. Pair that with the knowledge that, even with the protective gear they wear, 25% of the players on the field get injured every week  and it becomes even more difficult. My opponent mentions that pain is common in swimming and you just have to get over it. I do not doubt that swimmers push themselves to the brink of their physical ability and beyond, to the point where it can be very painful. But compared to a helmet that is attached to, and backed by the force of, a 250+ opponent , landed directly on the knee or thigh of a running back, or a receiver stretch out to make a catch being hit directly in the back or helmet with no way to defend himself, that pain is on an entirely different level.
Much of the time that football players spend preparing for games is also mental. They learn the play books and study game film of themselves and their opponents in order to be as prepared as possible for the game. On the field players must read and react to everything happening around them. Where swimming requires sheer physical exertion, football requires intelligence and instinct as well as the physical aspect.
I do not disagree that swimming is difficult and I do not even make the claim that football is more difficult than swimming, but I do not accept the premise that swimming is more difficult than football. Every sport requires various levels of skill, be it physical fitness, control, instinct and/or the ability to think and analyse, so one should never make the claim that any one sport is more difficult than any other. It might be correct to say that swimming requires more endurance than football, or that football required better durability than swimming, but the term difficult is very subjective and finding proof to support the claim becomes very arduous.
Backstroke_Chick forfeited this round.
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