They’re slackers, but they’re not lazy

Photo by Kristian Ibarra, Staff Writer

Photo by Kristian Ibarra, Staff Writer

by Kristian Ibarra

Slacklining is hard. Really hard. Think learning how to walk again, except this time you’re in the dark and your legs are made of Jell-O.

[quote]“In one word, it’s frustrating,” computer engineering freshman and SDSU Slackers Club Vice President Aidan Belleau said. “Your leg doesn’t really know where to go; it just kind of wobbles back and forth. I think that’s really scary, because you don’t know what it is and it feels like you’re going to eat it right away.”[/quote]

After weeks of walking past the shirtless group of guys and fully-clothed girls, you convince yourself you’re up for the challenge. You take off your shoes and proceed to walk up to the slack line. There’s just one problem—you’ve no idea how to get on for the first time.

Awkwardly standing there, you’re puzzled while you just stare at the line. Meanwhile, the purple nylon webbing harnessed between the two palm trees rests there, staring right back at you, briefly mocking you before it welcomes you to give it a shot.

Eventually, you find your method of hopping onto the line, likely by aid of somebody else’s shoulder.

“Find your balance,” mechanical engineering senior Lucas Zacharias said. “Don’t look down and just focus on slowly letting go, letting your arms and hips do the work for you.”

You gain enough courage and try taking a step. If you’re human with a decent sense of balance, you probably fail.

That’s what learning how to slackline is like.

The group of people walking along the line is much less intimidating, though. They’re actually some of the nicest people around campus, genuinely wanting every passerby to join in on the balancing act they’ve come to know and love.

“We have people of all sizes, genders and backgrounds come and try it,” Belleau said. “There really isn’t a bar that says, ‘Hey, wait no, you can’t do this.’”

They’re not just a group of friends passing time in between classes, though. It’s an official, university-recognized club. According to the Facebook group page, the SDSU Slackers house 90 members. In actuality, the number’s much closer to 40 or 50, Belleau said.

Some students have been slacklining on campus long before it became an official club.

“I did it back in a time when there was really nobody else doing it here,” Zacharias said. “I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bit of a slackline hipster.”

Contrary to what your mind tells you, they do notice every passerby who stares in amazement. They’ll typically ask anybody with a glimmer of interest to give it a try.

Most people don’t.

“‘I’ll hurt myself,’ is a common excuse,” Belleau said. “And then you go, ‘Well, what’s fun if you don’t get hurt in life? You have to try something risky every once in a while.’”

Every once in a while, though, somebody decides to slip off his or her shoes and give it a go.

Kinesiology freshman Dominique Williams was finally convinced to try it out last Wednesday. A cheerleader in high school, she said her cheering days didn’t help her prepare her.

[quote]“Backflips are way easier than this,” Williams said, while letting out a frustrated laugh. “I wasn’t even on the line for two seconds before I came right back down.”[/quote]

She was able to get four steps in by the end of her first day. By day two, she was making it to the halfway mark of a 50-foot line.

“It’s very addicting,” she said. “Once you try it once, you feel like you have to keep coming back.”

The addiction, as it turns out, urges some of these Slackers to take their skills to new heights—literally. Some of the Slackers are motivated to try and walk across the line while hundreds of feet up in the air.

[quote]“We could maybe do it in front of Hepner Hall in between those two palm trees right there,” Zacharias, said pointing toward the trees and laughing. “That would be so awesome if we could pull that off right there.”[/quote]

Photo by Kristian Ibarra, staff writer

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