Boise State slacklining club balances work and play

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For some students at Boise State, slacking means more than procrastinating assignments in favor of sleeping in and watching TV. For members of Slackers at Boise State, a club formed four years ago, slacking means gracefully gliding across a long, flat piece of webbing stretched between two anchored points, often trees, having fun and making friends.

A fairly new sport, slacklining was born in the early 1980s in the Yosemite Valley when two climbers, Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington, took a piece of webbing used for climbing and secured it between two trees. Similar to rope walking, this bouncier alternative has taken off world-wide as people walk further, hold yoga poses longer and perfect cooler tricks on the line every day.

The small community at Boise State mirrors this larger movement as the club improves their own skills on the line, while building community and interacting with new club members as well as curious passing students.

The description on their Orgsync page states club members are “building friendships and community” while “promoting balance in all aspects of our lives.”

There are currently a total of 33 Slackers  and the more active club members are a pretty tight knit group. When asked why he took up slacklining, biology major Jared Guerra didn’t hesitate to give an answer.

“For me it’s the fact that when you’re on the line, if you’re going to perform well, you really have to relax and kind of just let everything go for a little bit. It’s really great for relaxing,” Guerra said.

While watching these lighthearted students laugh and chat while getting some much needed fresh air, it’s not hard to see that this stress-relieving technique works. The Slackers can be often be found hanging out next to the Student Union Building while perfecting tricks and maneuvering across the line. These students joke around and try new things each time they meet up.

Photo by Axel Quartarone.

Despite the fun they have, the Slackers are more than just a group of college kids goofing around outside. The sport can be difficult to get the hang of, and club members encourage newcomers to just keep trying in order to improve.

“It’s a little harder to get that initial balance, but once you find that initial balance it’s really easy to keep progressing,” Guerra said.

Most club members were simply students passing by the club’s set up outside the SUB before being enticed to join in on the fun by the smiles, chill music and eye-catching tricks taking place among the trees.

Cody Barnes, an engineering and applied mathematics major, has been slacklining for the past four months.

Barnes voiced that, “progressing—getting over the fear of trying something new,” was the biggest challenge he has experienced while slacklining.

Walking across the wobbly webbing may have seemed daunting at first, but Barnes said it has not stopped him from improving and getting more confident in his skills. Barnes suggested that curious students should check out slacklining videos on Youtube to inspire learning within the sport.

“It’s an addicting sport once people try,” Barnes said.

New slacker and computer science major, Tamoy Fuller said she and her friends “basically just kind of walked by and said ‘that looks pretty cool.’ People were doing flips and stuff so we came over and we’ve been coming back, hanging out, trying.”

The Slackers said newcomers are welcome to the crew, and talents within the club range from flipping on the line to barely standing up long enough to take a step. Club members encourage students of all ages and disciplines to stop by and step onto the line to try something new.

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