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Top 5 Illegal Sports

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 14, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Normally at Tarnished Twenty we stick to the sports on the field/pitch/court/ice/turf, and we leave the criminal stuff to our FindLaw Blotter blog. But criminal law often overlaps with athletic activities, especially in the context of sports that take place outside stadiums and arenas.

Here's a list of sports you won't find on ESPN and could get you arrested:

  1. BASE Jumping. Who doesn't want to scale the unfinished tower at 1 World Trade Center and hurl themselves off, trying to deploy a parachute in time while also avoiding other buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and, you know, cops on the way down? BASE jumping, the acronym shorthand for buildings, antenna, span, and Earth (all the things jumpers jump off of) looks like a lot of fun. It's also definitely illegal in all cities and can get you charged with burglary and reckless endangerment.
  2. Drag Racing. The illicit kind, obviously. You know, the kind where you and your buddy (or a stranger) find an open strip of road on which to test your respective hot rods. The kind that is also illegal in all 50 states. The "Fast and Furious" movies are fun to watch, but you will almost certainly find yourself in jail if you reenact them.
  3. Train Surfing. Yes, we've all seen Teen Wolf (I hope), but we've also seen all the fight scenes on top of trains in action movies. Which is why the dangers of train surfing should be obvious. What should also be obvious is that surfing on top of or hanging on the side of train cars could land you in jail, if not the hospital.
  4. Buildering. An urban take on bouldering, scaling the outside of buildings is (in)famously referred to as "misinterpreting architecture." Buildering combines the rush of heights and daredevilry with the thrill of trespassing.
  5. Skateboarding. I know, I know, "Skateboarding Is Not a Crime." But it is if you're in a designated non-skateboarding area or being reckless on the sidewalk. The criminal laws regarding skateboarding can vary from city-to-city and even block-to-block, so check the statutes before you go bombing down Broadway.

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