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Golf, then you can have a fun little argument about everything else.
When having this discussion, you have to think in terms of the given sport's level of difficulty at its highest level.
For anyone that claims soccer, you're immediately discounted when rugby is mentioned.
Ever tried to hit a 94 mph fastball, then had the ability to adjust to the same pitcher throwing an 88 mph slider, or an 82 mph changeup? Good luck. Not to mention, pro baseball has a 162 game schedule with 15 off days. Think about it...
Ice hockey. First, you have to be a world class skater. THEN have the ability handle a small black disk-shaped object, be able to shoot it 90+ mph, pass it, body check, etc.
Play table tennis against anyone who is actually decent at the game (and no, I'm not talking about your uncle in his garage) and you will see how difficult that game truly is. The spin that can be put on the ball is mind-boggling. It's also very demanding cardio-wise. Really, go enter a sanctioned tournament and good luck.
Sticking with an Asian theme, Badminton is stupid-hard. Again, speaking of the sport's top level, and not in your backyard with your mom.
Jiu-jitsu, in an 8 pound Gi, in a tournament with 5 minute competitions, will make you hate your life. BJJ creates a different fatigue/pain that is hard to explain. Boxing is also WAY more taxing than people think. The professionals we see on TV are in better condition than 99% of the people on this planet.
That being said, MMA combines everything. I have never fought, but I've helped a few fighters train (one is on this board) and tasted enough to never want to do it. I'm not talking about your redneck, dragon tatoo, "Team Kudzu" barfight BS either. I'm talking two disciplined athletes who respect their trades trying to prove that they're better than the man across from them. Good luck with that.
I've never played it, but water polo looks incredibly difficult. I can't imagine trying to do gymnastics either. What those guys and gals do is amazing.
All this is said to prove that this is a never-ending argument. The only fact is that Golf is the hardest sport in the world.
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I think it all depends on what you mean by "hard."
I haven't seen the 400M, 400 Hurdles, or 800M mentioned.
The pain in those events is relatively brief (compared with a marathon, a 60 minute football game, or a multi-round combat sport), but it is a whole different level of excruciating. You start sprinting at near top speed, and you continue sprinting until your body shuts down and refuses to move anymore. You hope that your timing is good enough that your shut down happens at approximately the finish line, and not 50 meters before it.
That's what you do as your sport -- sprint until you fall apart -- and that's what you do most days in training.
I've never done anything else that approaches the excruciating fatigue you feel at the end of those races.
Is that "hard" ? It's not a skill, and it's not something you have to endure for a long time. It doesn't demand a lot of versatility. But it does require a willingness to inflict pain on yourself that most people don't have.
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