Student-athlete finds balance in an uncommon activity: slacklining

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln cross country runner spends his limited free time on an unusual activity.

Students at UNL participate in various activities to relax from the stressors of college ranging from traveling, watching Netflix or even slacklining. However, student-athletes in the middle of their competitive seasons can find themselves struggling to do any of these.

Wyatt McGuire, a senior captain on the UNL Men’s Cross Country Team, made time over Labor Day weekend to do one of his favorite activities, slacklining.

The main goal of slacklining is to walk across a flexible line without falling off. As slackliners improve they are able to begin working on different tricks. These tricks can include jumps, turns and backwards walking.

McGuire practices his turns at UNL’s Outdoor Adventure Center. He successfully completed three turns in a row.

McGuire tries to go slacklining as much as he can to improve, but his busy schedule limits him.

“I used to go about twice a month, but now that Cross Country season is here it’s a lot less,” McGuire said.

McGuire was almost unable to go slacklining over Labor Day weekend due to a Cross Country competition on Friday, Aug. 31 in Sioux Falls, SD. However, McGuire made it back to Lincoln on Saturday, Sep. 1 and was able to slackline at UNL’s Outdoor Adventure Center.

McGuire’s skills did not go unnoticed as two UNL students, Collin Hoffman and Isaac Askey, asked to join in after watching McGuire’s success.

McGuire teaches fellow students the basics of slacklining. As pictured from left to right, Askey, McGuire and Hoffman.

McGuire helped these students learn the proper way to stand and told them to bend their knees to maintain balance while slacklining. Askey and Hoffman were unsteady, but McGuire’s guidance helped them balance long enough to take a few steps each.

When McGuire was first learning to slackline he was unsteady and relieved heavily on his brother’s advice. McGuire, the North Platte native, said his brother taught him to slackline about five years ago.

Despite remaining in Lincoln over Labor Day weekend, McGuire said he loves to travel and has slacklined in places like Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota and many more.

McGuire is smiling after regaining balance on his slackline. McGuire was practicing standing on one foot prior to losing his balance.

“Growing up in a small town in Nebraska, I guess I’ve always wanted to travel and see everything I can,” McGuire said.

McGuire said if his brother had never traveled to Colorado and learned to slackline he probably would never have picked up the activity. He shook his head at the thought of never trying slacklining.

Slacklining may not be the most popular of pastimes, but for people like McGuire it is a great way to relax after a long week.

“It is a great way to be outdoors and recuperate after a long run,” McGuire said. “I really need that downtime sometimes.”

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