Slacklining – Not for the feint of heart
Ghormley Park is a slackliner’s paradise. The abundance of closely spaced trees makes it a destination for the few students who regularly participate in the unique activity.
Slacklining involves stringing a line between two trees several feet off the ground, tightening it, and walking across. For skilled participants like Nathan MacConnel, walking across is only the beginning of the challenge.
After mastering simply standing on the slackline, walking across, and turning around—slackliners begin to invent tricks to increase the challenge. MacConnel said his favorite moves are the butt bounce 180 and drop knees. In the future he hopes to master a back flip.
He began slacklining after seeing a film featuring Andy Lewis, a professional slackliner who performed at the 2012 Superbowl halftime.
“It looked like a lot of fun, so I bought a slackline and I couldn’t get off of it,” said MacConnel. “Really, it’s just a way to break up my day from school and stay sane.”
Slacklining is a skill that takes a lot of practice to become good at. MacConnel said you must build the muscle memory through extended practice.
“People get discouraged when they try for the first time and can’t do it. The more you do it, the easier it gets,” he said.
Slacklining can be highly meditative. It requires intense focus, said MacConnel, which relaxes him and relieves stress. He said it is a fun yet challenging activity that is nearly addicting.
But for all its benefits, MacConnel doesn’t understand why there aren’t more slackliners in Moscow.
“It seems like a university activity. It’s sad because it’s so simple. All you need is a line and friends to go out with.”
Philip Vukelich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org