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Photographer's Note

Part 2 of a 13-item series on slacklining on library lawn at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Getting started can be a little bit intimidating for some... the fear of falling is probably just as real as the fear of heights, even if the fall is only two or three feet. The idea of losing control over one's body as it plummets towards the ground is hard to come to terms with if it's something that one hasn't experienced a few times before.

As passers by watched some of the supposedly more experienced slackliners take a few steps before falling, sometimes to quite dramatic landings, there was a combined fear and excitement... an allure that many could not overcome, which led them to try the line out for themselves.

The hardest step to slacklining is just getting onto the line. It is difficult to attain a degree of balance, and most people tend to not shift enough weight from the side of the line that they start on. Some of the ladies that tried the line out wanted to get a taste of what it was like to walk on the slack, slightly swaying line, and the nearby men were more than pleased to offer some assistance.

Newcomers were encouraged to stand beside the line, place one foot on the line with their weight on the ground on the other foot, stare at a knot halfway up the far tree, smoothly step up, and focus on breathing steadily, as there is a tendency to stop breathing upon first stepping onto the line, which upsets one's balance and, at least in theory, could prove fatal if one managed to sustain the ceased breathing for long enough.

This particular lady took those words of advice to heart, and with intense gaze fixed on the knot (and a little bit of help) prepared to step onto the slackline for the first time.

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Part 1 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11

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Additional Photos by Sam Beer (SamB) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 429 W: 58 N: 416] (1948)
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