Barely 2 months after Typhoon Haiyan struck, Dr. Kong-Ting Yeh, President of the Asian Association of Sport Management (AASM) launched the campaign Sports for Love with the goal of comforting the victims of the disaster through sport.
After months of organizing and soliciting, the day finally came in August 2014 for Dr. Yeh and his student James Hao of the National Taiwan Sport University, to bring slacklining to Tacloban, Leyte.
Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking, but using a flat piece of webbing tied between supporting structures or anchors. The activity began in the 1980’s among mountain climbers, who during days of rest, would tie climbing ropes between trees to see if they could balance, jump or do stunts.
Today, slacklining has grown in popularity among the young and old, from the recreational to the serious enthusiasts – due to the ease of use of the equipment and the benefits derived in developing balance and core strength. Psychologically, slacklining improves concentration, confidence and encourages interpersonal interaction among its participants.
Such was the case when Dr. Yeh and James set up the slackline at the People’s Park in Tacloban, Leyte to demonstrate and teach the workers from the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA) on the use of slacklining for their outreach work at the relief centers.
The activity instantly drew curiosity from those who ventured to try, not only from among the students but even adults, who could not resist the lure of “play” – their spirits buoyed with each attempt on the flat web, whether they were successful at it or not. For sure, each participant went home afterwards feeling refreshed and raring to conquer another day towards recovery.
Our heartfelt thanks to Gibbon Slackline, the National Taiwan Sport University and AASM, for showing us once again, the power of sport.