Unless you live in a cave with gollum, you’ve heard about the dude who’s going to do a daring tightrope walk in downtown Chicago.
In case you haven’t, here’s a little background:
Nik Wallenda will be walking a tightrope the width of a nickel twice between Marina Towers and the Leo Burnett building, which isn’t just almost 700 feet up – it’s also on a 15 degree incline.
The first time will be a simple stroll across the rope. The second time Nik Wallenda will be blindfolded.
And furthermore – he’ll be doing this with no harness or net.
While it is an ‘out there’ stunt, the whole slew of “he’s crazy!” and “does he have a deathwish?” comments are getting old.
Here’s the thing – yeah, it’s risky, it’s daring, it’s potentially life-endangering. And someone doing something death-defying as a first-timer? Yeah, that’s crazy.
But someone carrying out a death-defying stunt that they’ve been practicing their entire lives doesn’t make them crazy. And while even Wallenda himself has said the blindfold will be the most challenging part – as balance is very dependent – it’s what he’s been training for.
And that’s what people keep losing track of – he’s trained for all of this.
Take The Crocodile Hunter, for example. Steve Irwin had similar statements against the extreme proximity he experienced with the large reptiles. You may be saying, “bad example – he died.” True, but in the end, he didn’t pass away from the teeth of the creatures that everyone said would lead to his demise, but rather a freak accident with a stingray – a creature he rarely dealt with.
This is not Wallenda’s first rodeo, nor is he the first ‘Wallenda’ to walk the tightrope. He grew up as the seventh generation of tightrope walkers, saying that he started training even before he was born when his mom tightroped walked while six months pregnant with him.
What’s more – this isn’t the most daring walk Nik himself has done.
His past walks include achieving a lifelong dream of traversing across Niagara Falls. More recently, he endured 48 MPH winds while crossing the Grand Canyon at 1,500 feet, which he finished off by kneeling and saluting to the crowd. Compared to that, his Chicago crossing sounds like a literal cakewalk.
The real focus of conversation here shouldn’t be regarding Wallenda’s sanity, but rather the weather of The Windy City.
Because the biggest wildcard for Nik Wallenda isn’t going to be the walk itself, but rather the elements.
It only takes looking at the forecast of the past week to figure out that Chicago weather is absolutely insane.
Monday: 79 degrees and windy
Tuesday: 69 degrees and windy
Wednesday: 50 degrees and cloudy
Thursday: 53 degrees and mostly cloudy
Friday: 39 degrees and fucking snowing
Over the past five days, we’ve legitimately gone through every season. Thus far, the forecast looks to be 50 and mostly sunny. But this is Chicago, and as we know – things can go from summer sun to winter snow in a few hours. And even though the “Windy City” isn’t actually that windy, there was an extreme wind warning just yesterday on Halloween.
Throw in some of that lake effect and bam – you’ve got…well you don’t know what you’ve got.
So let’s drop all the commotion and questioning surrounding Wallenda’s character and sanity. He’s not going into this as an untrained idiot. And call it brutal honesty, but if anything does happen – which hopefully it won’t – he put himself in this situation knowing full well what the risks were.
Calling Wallenda insane or repeatedly asking him why isn’t going to A) stop Wallenda from loving to do what he’s done his whole life or B) stop it from happening. Saying that this guy’s crazy isn’t going to stop him and if it was enough to stop him? He probably wouldn’t have followed in his relatives footsteps in the first place. So let’s focus on the true wildcard here – the elements.
Whether the weather permits or anything goes amiss, we’ll just have to wait and see. Because this is Chicago, where the weather is made up and the forecast doesn’t matter.
Whatever happens on Sunday, I wish Nik the best of luck in the best of climates.
The walk is happening Sunday November 2nd at 6 PM and will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel. If you want to see it in real time, Wacker Drive from Clark Street to Dearborn Street and Wacker Drive from Wabash to State Street will be your best bet (courtesy of WGN).
(Featured photo courtesy of Nik Wallenda’s Facebook page)