Wallenda Walks the Walk – Why Did You Watch? [POLL]
I knew I had to tune in last night to Discovery to catch Nik Wallenda waking 1,500 feet above the Grand Canyon.
I knew that had he failed in his attempt, we’d all be talking about what a fool he was for trying in the first place. Or how brave he was in trying.
Not that I wanted to watch a man die on live TV. That would be the quintessence of “f’d up!”
But the question remains, “why did we watch?”
Was it to cheer him on in his attempt to conquer the Grand Canyon; to see someone so focused on achieving something so daring; or was it a ghoulish fascination with possibly seeing someone die right in front of you?
I can tell you this. Once I put the show on, my mother in law, after having watched a few minutes into the show, gave it a thumbs down.
“This is annoying me. I’m going up to change into something comfortable and watch one of my programs!”
Fact is, the buildup was pretty annoying; but I couldn’t help but feel anxious for this guy, and the uncomfortable thought that he’d fall.
And at one point I caught myself praying that he would make it safely across! Perhaps not as emphatically as he did, but a silent prayer that he'd make it nonetheless.
The successful, 22-minute walk on the 2-inch thick cable was monitored by people around the world via television and computer screens during a broadcast of Wallenda's most ambitious stunt yet.
They watched as the winds tested the Florida daredevil, and listened as he called on God to calm the swaying cable and as he paid homage to his famed great-grandfather. The stunt was the leading trending topic on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
"It was unbelievable," he told reporters later. "It was everything I wanted it to be. It was extremely emotional. I got to the other end and started crying."
During his walk on the 2-inch-thick steel cable above the dry river bed near the Grand Canyon, Wallenda paused and crouched twice as winds whipped around him and the rope swayed. Gusts had been expected to be around 30 mph. He said they sent dust flying into his eyes.
"It was strenuous the whole way across. It was a battle. The winds were strong, they were gusty," he told reporters. "But there was never a point where I thought, 'oh my gosh, I'm going to fall.' "
Wallenda stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps.
"Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God," he said about 13 minutes into the walk.
The Discovery Channel broadcast the event live. He wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the river bed and one that faced straight ahead.
Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager. Sunday's stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.
About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them. A Navajo Nation ranger, a paramedic and two members of a film crew were stationed on the canyon floor.
The ranger, Elmer Phillips, he got a little nervous when Wallenda stopped the first time. "Other than that, a pretty amazing feat," Phillips said.
Wallenda already is eyeing his next stunt, which he hopes will take him between the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in New York. As a nod to his Internet audience, he said he also would ask his Facebook and Twitter followers what the next challenge should be.
But he said he would give up tightrope walking altogether if his wife and children ever asked him.
Here’s the ironic thing. I remember him saying, just before he mounted the cable that if his wife told him not to do anything dangerous, he wouldn’t.
What did she think? This was going to be a walk in the park?
And as for his possibly trying to walk between the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is reported to have said he’d never allow it!