On Friday evening, June 15th sometime around 10 PM ET, Nik Wallenda (yeah, of THOSE Wallendas) will walk over 500 meters on a tightrope through the darkness of night and over the roaring natural wonder of Niagara Falls. Thousands (hundred of thousands?) of people will turn out live to watch this event while ABC televises it to millions.
Right here, in Niagara.
I have seen local people dismiss Wallenda’s Wirewalk as a ridiculous spectacle and are tired of the massive news coverage that goes with an international event like this. Many businesses dismiss the notion of sponsorship and others challenge the idea of the associated economic benefit. It’s well past the time to stop eye rolling.
I did mention that this is right here in Niagara, right?
We live in a world where the highest rated shows on network television are American Idol, America’s Got Talent and NFL Football. In it’s 12th season, Survivor is still drawing in 10 million viewers. Today, North American entertainment is built upon extreme challenges, fighting for dreams and a bit of hyperbole. There is a reason that ABC is broadcasting Wallenda’s Niagara Falls tightrope walk nationally on Friday night — that reason is viewers and viewers = dollars.
Niagara has long been a place of innovation and the natural challenges of Niagara Falls has long drawn the daredevils of the world here to test their mettle. The difference is that those were simpler times, with less restrictions and legal ramifications — the coordination of an event like this in 2012 requires the kind of paperwork necessary to divorce a Kardashian and a bankroll to cover the training, equipment and provide an element of safety. In other words, we won’t see something like this again in Niagara for at least another generation. We are watching history unfold.
There is another reason that Nik Wallenda’s dream should be important to all of us. It is a challenging time in Niagara, in North America and the world. When many people are struggling to hold onto their jobs, keep their family fed and entrepreneurs are trying to keep their businesses from folding, this is a time when we should embrace impossible dreams.
Nik Wallenda looks out across the expanse that separates the US and Canada and sees a spectacular and terrifying natural wonder waiting below as an opportunity to fulfil his dream. To him, this is merely a challenge that can be overcome by training, a good plan and one careful step at a time.
We should all take some time to think about that, be inspired and start planning how we are going to make our own dreams possible no matter how improbable and no matter who rolls their eyes.
I would suggest for our own dreams we might start a bit smaller than crossing Niagara Falls suspended by a tiny cable. Leave that dream to Nik Wallenda.
For more information on Nik Wallenda including links regarding the Niagara Falls Wirewalk visit his website: http://nikwallenda.com/