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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Not just the average slacker

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Arizona Daily Wildcat

It takes a special breed of student to successfully walk the fine line between juggling hobbies and maintaining studies, but that’s what these students do — quite literally.

Wednesday afternoons are a special time for members of the UA juggling club and slack liners.

“”I have a paper due tomorrow and this is just a necessity — we go every Wednesday,”” said astronomy sophomore Alex Dragotakes.

Their unique world lies secluded by the cover of trees just outside the Douglass building, and members say the experience includes food, conversation, friendship and fun.

“”I really like the people that hang out here,”” said plant sciences research assistant Sarah Hunter. “”They’re people I wouldn’t know otherwise.””

Members of the club come from all around — as students and alumni alike — to toss the day’s stresses away by juggling or balancing on a special tight rope called a slack line.

“”Slack lining is walking on a piece of webbing that has been tensioned between two anchors,”” said undeclared sophomore Bobby Walter. “”You can walk, sit, jump, lie down, juggle or do flips off of them. Some people even do yoga on the line.””

Getting started is the hardest part, he said, “”but what you’ll see is that you only improve after the first try.””

No matter the approach, both of these hobbies take a lot of practice, members say.

The hope of fine-tuning these skills is what keeps members coming back.

“”It’s a chance to practice and juggle with other people,”” said chemistry freshman Dominic Bergeman.

Bergeman admitted that he fell a lot in the process of learning the slack-line technique, but said it has not deterred him.

“”I’m just clumsy and that’s probably why it takes me a while to learn,”” he said.

Practicing such feats draws a lot of attention, but members of the club say the reactions are usually pretty positive.

“”Nobody really acts adversely. We’ve never been yelled at or heckled beyond just a, ‘Don’t fall,'”” Walter said. “”A lot of people stop, watch, try it or cheer.””

Most people are always friendly and open to learn, Dragotakes added.

Hunter is even known to carry around an extra set of juggling balls, and is eager to teach any passerby willing to learn.

For her, this hobby holds a constant reminder that can hold true to anyone in everyday life.

“”Realizing that if you practice you’ll get better and you’ll get through the frustrations — that’s something that everyone can be reminded of throughout their life,”” Hunter said. “”It’s also just really fun to know that twice a week I set aside time to play, to juggle and to hangout with friends and not worry that the dishes aren’t done or the house isn’t clean.””

Beyond over-analyzing the nature of their hobbies, it’s really all just about having a good time.

“”This is a really nice, shady area that is kept up really well,”” Walter said. “”More than anything, it’s just meeting up with good people and having a good afternoon.””

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