Honestly, Nik Wallenda Can Stop The Tightrope Stuff Anytime Now
Nik Wallenda is arguably the greatest athlete on the entire planet. In much the same way that we admire guys like Drew Brees or Brett Favre for their longevity in the NFL, or the historic Nolan Ryan over in Major League Baseball, we're about to watch Nik Wallenda go into his age-41 "season" at the top of his game. Tomorrow, March 4, 2020, he's about to go do a tightrope walk across the Mayasa Volcano in Nicaragua -- a volcano that is very much active. It's gonna be a record-breaker for him, too. He's gonna go further and higher than he's ever gone before, just crossing out sentence after sentence in a records book he keeps writing.
This will present its own challenges that make it unlike anything Wallenda's ever done before. He's going to have to wear a gas mask so that he can breathe while he does this walk, but even that won't do anything about the unique winds or, you know, the heat being given off by an active volcano. How exactly he's simulating this stuff in practice is anybody's guess. An interesting note is that some of the sulfuric gases might eat the wire so that it'd crumble if it got hung up too early. Apparently, volcanoes are also very loud, which is probably pretty distracting in its own way. In an interview with TMZ, Wallenda also tells us that his wife will be doing a stunt of her own before he goes out on the wire, so he might be worrying about her and not in the headspace he needs to be in.
So here's the thing -- um, Wallenda can stop anytime now. He's on record as thinking he'd probably retire around 55, and it's worth noting that his grandfather tragically passed away on a wire at age 73. So by crossing this volcano, Wallenda is showing us that, inexplicably, there are still ways he can blow our minds. He's very literally the authority on high-wire acts on this planet. There's nothing else for him to prove to himself, or any of us. He's done it all now, and if he keeps going, the next generation of Wallendas will be out of decent "starter ideas."
The bigger issue is that, if it's "global recognition" he's after, his chosen profession sadly lends itself to scarcity. He can't go out and walk a wire 162 times the way a baseball player can go out and play ball. He can't be on the schedule 16 times a year, miss a couple weeks due to a concussion, and bounce back for the rest of the calendar the way a football player can. If something goes wrong, he dies. God, I hope this doesn't give him any ideas. And yes, that's the appeal of it for us as viewers in a world that doesn't have nearly the amount of circuses as we did 100 years ago, but that's also what should make retirement so appealing -- at least after this feat. Godspeed, Nik Wallenda.