A few weeks ago I was doing some research for the novel I’m working on and I saw these three guys walking on what looked like a tie-down that was suspended between two trees. Being the curious sort (and really, what writer isn’t?), I asked the guys what the heck they were doing.
Um, okay. Never heard of it, but it looked fun. Apparently slacklining came about from some wacky mountain climbers who weren’t satisfied climbing up the face of a mountain. No sirree, these guys had the brilliant idea to tie a nylon rope thingy between two mountain cliffs and walk across it. Crazy!
Slacklining is now so popular there are competitions all around the world. Not only do people walk across the 2″ nylon line, but they bounce on them, do flips, and basically give moms all over the world heart attacks.
Here’s the cool thing ~ slacklining isn’t just for thrill seekers. Kelly McBride, one of the guys I met, is a teacher at a private school in San Diego and they use slacklining in the classroom to help kids with special needs. I loved that! Before you panic, Coach Kelly (as his students call him) assured me when they work with the kids the line is only a few inches above thick pads. They are all about challenging the kids, but safety always comes first.
Apparently using slackling with the special needs students teaches them body awareness which helps with balance and fine motor skills. I would love to see the kid’s faces while they are slacklining ~ the huge grins of accomplishment, the focus and concentration.
Here are a few pics of Kelly and his friends Chris Mathes and Jarrod Wyss. I know it’s hard to tell in a still photo, but in the last pic, that’s Kelly walking backward on the line. I tried to get them to do some flips, but they were too shy.
Anytime someone takes an ‘off limit’ activity and adapts it so anyone, even kids with special needs, can do it, I’m a fan. I think what they are doing in the occupational therapy lab at Coach Kelly’s school is nothing short of amazing. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see a video with one of Kelly’s students doing crazy stunts like this! I just hope their mom’s hearts can take it. This seriously makes mine sputter.
After you watch the video below, ask yourself if you would’ve thought to take that knowledge and technology then apply it to kids with special needs. I know I never would have! Living life without constraints. That’s what Coach Kelly and his teacher pals have taught me. The limits we place on ourselves are the only thing holding us back from being amazing. My hope for all of you today is that you go out there and find your own slackline, be it in the form of finishing that novel you’ve been fighting with, or asking your boss for a raise. Don’t be afraid. Be amazing.
The video is kind of long, so jump ahead to the 2:30 mark. That’s where the guy gets a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy.
Have you ever been slacklining? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of ‘adventure’?