Walking in a straight line doesn't seem so hard right? Try doing it on a piece of webbing that is only a couple inches wide and above the ground. This is called slacklining.
Slacklining, nicknamed slacking, is a popular sport around Fort Lewis College with brightly colored lines set up constantly connecting the trees of the campus.
The most popular place to find slack-lines is in the yard of the Bader-Snyder Complex, where on most sunny afternoons, you can find FLC students trying to make their way across the lines without falling.
“Everyday after school people are over there,” August Cox, a freshman who lives in the Bader-Snyder Complex, said regarding how often the slackliners are over by the Bader-Snyder complex.
According to the International Slackline Association, slacking is a balancing sport on a 2-5 centimeter (1-2 inches) wide piece of webbing that is attached to an anchor point, typically a tree, and you walk across from point A to point B.
Cole Swan, a senior at the Fort, said he has done typical slacklining for over two years.
“Keep your arms out and high,” Swan said about the different techniques he used to get better at slacking over the last two years. “Focus on a single point that isn't moving while walking. Practice as much as you can and have fun doing it.”
Swan has recently picked up a different, more advanced style of slacking called highlining, he said.
Highlining is a method of slacklining in which the slacker is suspended at a higher height, typically done in the mountains. If Swan is heading up for a mountain get-away, or planning a camping trip, he packs his slacklines, he said.
“It’s always fun to slackline up high and away from a lot of modern civilization,” Swan said. “Slacking with a sweet mountain view is never a bad thing.”
Slacking at FLC creates a community.
“Everyone is invited to slack, no one is left out,” Cox said.
Even though the lines are set up in the Bader-Snyder area, people from other dorms come over and hang out.
Jovi Smith, a freshman at the Fort, lives in Animas Hall and often visits the slacklines in the Bader-Snyder yard.
“I found out about the lines set up in the Bader-Snyder area when I originally took a tour of the Fort,” Smith said. “Though I knew I wasn’t going to be living over there, I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time slacking over there.”
The Fort Lewis slacklining community is strong and it spreads through campus, Smith said.
“I’ve met a lot of people through slacklining here at Fort Lewis because, though it’s a solo sport, it’s very much a group activity,” Smith said. “The camaraderie between everyone that’s formed by the sport has definitely created friendships.”
Smith said that slacking taught her how to be more kind to herself and others around her and give everyone a chance.
“My passion is slacklining and all I want to do is share it with others,” Smith said. “That is what brings me the greatest joy and purpose in life.”