Antarctica recreation: Serious about sports

Sat, Nov 20
9:52
AM ET
Two CompetitorsMike King

Pop quiz: What's the sportiest continent in the world?

Nope, sorry, try again …

Answer: Antarctica.

Hang on a minute -- surely there's some mistake. Antarctica is a land of unfathomable cold, winter nights that last six months and a handful of research stations … isn't it?

It sure is. And the folks there love their sports.

Actually, it makes perfect sense. Sports are universal, as any beer league softball star, after-work golfer or suburban-park marathon runner will tell you. Sports let us unwind from the stresses of the workday and bond with our friends. They feed our need for competition, and they let us keep fit while we blow off some steam.

And this need for sports is magnified a thousandfold at McMurdo Station, the primary U.S. base in Antarctica and the largest community on a continent the size of the U.S. and Mexico combined. This is, after all, one of the most remote spots on the planet, where working conditions are some of the harshest and most unforgiving imaginable. But that hasn't prevented the majority of residents from developing acceptable playing conditions for numerous activities.

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