Meet the members of UMass’ Parkour Club

‘Cause walking is for chumps

Most of us were first introduced to parkour in the early ’00’s through the power of the internet, or James Bond, or The Office. But, did you know that UMass has its own parkour club?

Every day a group of UMass students meet up to do flips to run up the beautiful walls of our campus, among other things that you should probably not try at home.

I decided to attend one of their practices to see what exactly UMass Parkour was all about.

The club meets every day outside of FAC before they decide as a group which well-lit place they are going to practice on.

Tonight, they picked Tobin Hall. I had never seen parkour in person so I had no idea what to expect. Within seconds a member was doing a hand stand on the ledge of a staircase. I’m impressed when I make it through a day without tripping so this was phenomenal.

But when he came back down uninjured, nobody clapped or cheered. So, I guess this impressive feat was normal?

At 20 years old I know myself well enough to know I’ll never be able to do a hand stand on cement. I was wondering exactly how members were introduced to parkour.

Freshman, Maya Silvia joined the club this semester after finding out about it online. She told me she had never done parkour before.

When I asked why she joined she said: “I was curious just because I didn’t know exactly what it was about.”

She then proceeded to run up a wall and a do handstand. Maya doesn’t mess around.

Matt Murch is a junior who has been in the club since his freshman year. Parkour in general is a very unorthodox practice so I wondered how this type of club would be run. Do they have officers and dues and an email list? Not exactly.

“We have officers but the mentality of parkour doesn’t really go with having people tell you what to do, but rather the other way around.”

I spoke to an officer who backed up what Matt had said. Vice President Donald Harris told me officers are really just there to do paper work. Meanwhile, Matt was running up a wall.

The members of the club made running up walls, doing flips, and jumping over railings look so easy. I wondered if any of them ever got scared or nervous.

Matt told me: “A lot of people don’t do parkour because it’s dangerous. I don’t think you shouldn’t do it ’cause it’s dangerous. It is dangerous, but that’s just a part of it.”

Most members said they get asked to jump off stuff when they tell people they are in the club. But, they do much more than that.

Donald said the key is to “find someone who can teach you the basics so you don’t hurt yourself.”

As I was leaving I turned around and saw someone climb onto a roof. And I don’t mean climb a ladder or stairs. Like something out of a video game, he jumped onto the roof a building quicker than most of us climb into a lofted bed.

Matt told me parkour is about breaking societal norms. So, next time you meet someone who does parkour don’t ask them to jump off stuff. Think outside the box.

Ask them to climb up stuff.

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