Slackline on Campus
Students might be asking why there is a tightrope hanging between two trees in front of King Hall, and what people are doing trying to walk on it. This rope is in fact called a slackline. What people are doing is slacklining: balancing on a tight nylon rope that is wrapped with tension between two trees or posts, and walking to the other side. Speed doesn’t matter.
Victor Rodrigues, an exchange student from Brazil, practices slacklining almost every day. He explains that it is better to have the slackline stand between two trees so “one can be in contact with nature, and yourself.” He adds: “This is about focus and equilibrium.”
And this is true because slacklining is very difficult activity. Unlike a tightrope, the slackline is not too tight, which makes it bounce like a trampoline. So if someone wants to get to the other side of it, he or she needs to have a clear mind and be very focused on their moves, on the moves of the slackline and on nature.
“Everything relates; the inside body with the external body,” Rodrigues explains. “It is easier to be focused while being in contact with nature than in the middle of a city or a place where you don’t feel comfortable with yourself.”
This activity is almost like a meditation; the more focused someone is the better chances this person has to cross the line.
“This is like a breathing exercise. It is all about being focused, maintaining equilibrium and balance,” Rodrigues says. “Feel your body and feel what you are doing. Try to feel comfortable, it is about everything that is happening around you at that time.”
When the balance is finally achieved, the rope can be placed higher and tricks can be done. People can jump and put their chest on the stripe and then stand up again, sit down and jump back up. In order to do this one must practice.
Before Rodrigues started practicing slacklining in Brazil a year and a half ago, he was very curious about balance and equilibrium. He would observe people slacklining on beaches, as the sport is popular in Brazil. One day, Rodrigues finally decided to try it and thought it was fun. But when he came back to Santa Fe last semester, he stopped practicing for six months. Until this semester, when Patrick Roessner, a studio art student, brought his slackline to school.
“I left it here because it is a very fun activity and it has very interesting focus points,” Roessner says. “I want everyone who wants to join to try it and have fun.”
Now the slackline is part of the campus and part of the community. Any student who wants to join and try it out is welcome to do so. And beginners don’t need to be worried for there is always help.
“This stripe is here for the community, every one is here to help, so if anyone wants to try it out and have fun, or practice, of course we will help and welcome everyone,” Rodrigues says.