By Stuart PeckFor most people, stringing a piece of webbing over a 100-foot-wide canyon and trying to balance while walking across seems like a bad idea; Edward Yates isn’t most people.“People tell me I’m crazy all the time,” he said.Even Yates admits, when he was first introduced to the sport by his college roommate at Appalachian State, 10 years ago, he thought it was an activity for “circus freaks”. His attitude and enthusiasm quickly changed, and when he jumped on a slackline for the first time he was instantly addicted.Yates has a degree in mechanical engineering and a passion for doing what he loves: highlining, rock climbing, and living a life free of constraints, schedules, and deadlines. Talk to the professional highliner and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s loving life, living in a Chattanooga garage not far from where he grew up on Lookout Mountain. He’s traveled the world in search of great lines, including an Asia tour and a European tour. He’s also one of the few highliners who did the famed Rostrum highline in Yosemite National Park during its early days. Now he says the 75’ line, while still a great highline, is not as trendsetting as it once was.“At one time it was a cutting edge line… back when I did it,” he recalls. “It is still one of the tallest.”Slacklining and highlining were born out of boredom. They became popular rest day activities for rock climbers. Terms like free soloing and first ascent have been bridged between the two sports, and some of the better known highliners are also rock climbers, like Dean Potter and Ammon McNeely. Yates explains that highlining is basically the same thing as slacklining except you’re a lot farther from the ground and usually crossing a body of water or a natural gap like a canyon—or in Yates’ case, two peaks on a building.“The Tennessee Aquarium is the most iconic structure in Chattanooga,” says Yates. “It made people realize that highlining is safe. I fell a lot on that line but it’s mind control over muscle. It is probably the most extreme event that has happened in Chattanooga.”In October Yates walked a 200-foot-long highline between two of the glass peaks of the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga. It was part of the 2014 RiverRocks Adventure Sports Games which take place in the city each year. Before he ever climbed onto the roof of the unique structure he says he had to walk a different tightrope, trying to convince management of the facility to let him pull off the stunt.“The aquarium is an extremely legitimate organization,” Yates said. “I went to them and it was a very long process, let me tell you. It was really a couple months of who knows how many emails. I actually had to create a lot of intense legal documents for liability reasons, procedures, a safety plan to convince them. This was so off the scale of what people do day to day there that it was hard for them to even consider.”Eventually after a lot of coercion, Yates found himself climbing the glass mountains and rigging two lines that he’d cross. It involved removing several panels of glass and setting up one of the most complicated rigs he’s ever built for a line. After performing the “first walk” as he calls his first ascents, it propelled him into the spotlight as a highliner, and he hopes it leads to other similar events at locations around the region.So what does Yates do when he’s not walking across thin pieces of webbing? He spends a lot of time working to get his slacklining business, CobraPrime Slacklining, off the ground. He also moonlights as a tree climber and trimmer, welder, and artist. Yates is also big into personal sayings and is working to create a line of t-shirts with his quotations. Some of his favorites: Love the whipper, (don’t be afraid to fail); the time is always prime (the best opportunity to try something is the present); and master the mechanism (Yates calls the human body the best mechanism in the known universe).Yates is taking some of that motivation to Chattanooga’s parks department where he’s been in talks about creating a slacklining park in the city. At this point, he says the concept isn’t being accepted by the city and now he’s turning to a petition on the website change.org and Facebook to try and gain support for the idea.“I feel like it should be mainstream,” Yates exclaims. “The beauty of slacklining is that you can do it anywhere. This sport has so much potential to grow, it just takes getting people’s minds open to the idea.”Just like Yates didn’t give up when he first stepped onto a line strung across his front yard in college, he says he’ll continue to push toward bringing this mostly underground sport to the forefront of people’s minds. No time is more prime then right now… or something like that.
The Batesville traveled to Indianapolis early Saturday morning to participate in the Southport Invitational. The ladies struggled a bit but came in a respectable 4th place with 88 points getting beat by top teams from Zionsville-57 points, Connersville-61 points and Brownsburg-71 points.Running top for the Bulldogs and coming in 4th overall was Kelsey Gausman. Kelsey also ran a personal best and set a new school record by 1 second, finishing at 19:57. All of the varsity runners were in the top 30 or the race. Sarah Poltrack came in 2nd for the team at 18th, followed by Mary Poltrack and Maria Wessel crossing a half a second within each other at 20th and 21th. They were closely followed by Emma Gausman at 25th, Katie Baumer, 27th and Kylie Lehman, 30th.The JV race was scored and Batesville came in 3rd, behind Zionsville and Brownburg. Leading the way for the JV squad was Madeleine Robben who crossed the line in 10th position. She was followed by a pack of Bulldogs placing 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th place. They were Molly Weigel, Breanna Hartman, Mary Catherine Barnett and Candice Roell. Besides Kelsey, personal best times were run by Sarah Canady and Candice Roell. Congratulations ladies!The Dogs are busy this week as they will be competing in two Invitationals. Tuesday, Batesville will be hosting their Invitational and also honoring thier 5 boy seniors and 2 girls and on Thursday they travel to Greesburg to compete in their Invitational.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Lisa Gausman.
“I would like to be in their position, because if they win the matches they are top of the league,” Mourinho said. “If we win the next nine matches, we may not be champions. “If Manchester City win the 12 matches they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands and we don’t have ours. “I would prefer to have my destiny in my hands. It doesn’t depend on us. It depends on them.” Mourinho admits mission one of his return season is complete, though, with a top-four finish and Champions League qualification seemingly secure. “The top four is for us to lose,” said Mourinho, whose side have a commanding advantage over fifth-placed Spurs, sixth-placed Manchester United and seventh-placed Everton. “I really don’t believe that we are going to lose that distance. “Now let’s go for objective number two, which is top three – which gives direct Champions League qualification.” Chelsea were the only top four team in Premier League action this weekend and moved seven points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal and nine ahead of City, who have three matches in hand. Rather than having the points in the bag, Mourinho stated his preference for being in Manuel Pellegrini’s position, with a superior goal difference which means City will be champions if they win their final 12 games, even if Chelsea win all nine of theirs. Jose Mourinho is adamant Manchester City, and not Chelsea, are in pole position to win the Premier League title despite guiding his side seven points clear at the summit with a 4-0 defeat of Tottenham. Press Association Samuel Eto’o scored the first and was fouled for the penalty which saw Younes Kaboul sent off and was scored by Eden Hazard. Demba Ba netted twice late on. Eto’o himself was a late inclusion after Fernando Torres withdrew with a groin injury following the warm-up which could see him out for “a couple of weeks”. Cameroon striker Eto’o, whose age was questioned recently in unguarded comments made by Mourinho, celebrates his 33rd birthday on Monday and stood crooked at the corner flag, as if using it as an old man’s stick, following his goal. Mourinho was aware of the celebration before it was acted out. “The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation,” Mourinho said. “Some newspapers do great with photoshop. Now they don’t need photoshop. They have the real pic.” Tim Sherwood described Tottenham’s top-four chances as “slim” following the defeat and was frustrated with his side’s “capitulation”, something all too familiar this season. Sherwood, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas following the 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, said: “We’ve got a lot of big games coming up and we have to go and win them. “We had to win them before today, and it’s another blow to us. “No-one came here thinking we were going to turn Chelsea over; we hadn’t done it in 24 years. “I believed we could and after the first-half performance I believed they were there for us. But it never materialised. “(I am) massively disappointed, not too much about the result and the performance in the first half, but on the capitulation that the team showed, and showed too often this season. “We were 2-0 down with 10 men at Chelsea, you’re not going to win the game. But you expect to see a little bit more guts, a little bit more pride, a little bit more feather rustling. “I don’t want to be the only one who shouts at them. I think they need to dig each other out now and again and get the best out of each other.” Eto’o’s opening goal came as a result of a mistake by Jan Vertonghen, who slipped and, from the ground, returned the ball hopefully and centrally before watching on helplessly as the striker nipped in to find the bottom corner. “Anyone can slip up, make a mistake for the goal,” said Sherwood, who is undecided whether to appeal Kaboul’s dismissal. “I appreciate the referees have a very tough job, but that one went against us. “I think it’s a soft decision. I think it’s not a penalty. It’s a shame the referee didn’t get the chance to look at it again.” Tottenham’s defensive woes continued when Michael Dawson went off with an undisclosed injury which could rule him out of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Benfica. Sherwood added: “We’re struggling in that area of the field. We’ll have a look and see who’s fit.”