Parkour Week: Maxson’s Depth of Mind

Welcome to day three of this week of parkour. Today is a bit of an excerpt from an interview I had on Saturday with yesterday’s leading man, Scott Maxson.

I met up with Maxson at UMass’ own Blue Wall eatery, and sitting by the ceaseless babble of the televisions (almost invariably on CNN and ESPN), had our little chat. Wearing grey sweatpants and a red track jacket, his immediately-disarming smile beamed out from under the thick scruff of a beard as he sat down with his three-cheese panini. A biology major and vegetarian, he is also one of about five head members of the parkour team, and is in his senior year here on campus.

We traded pleasantries and the obligatory questions about how the semester is faring for the both of us, and I started the serious stuff by asking where he plans to go with parkour after school. With a surprising lack of hesitation, he said, “I want to start up a parkour monastery, something off grid; self-efficient.” I was a bit confused with that answer, so I asked him about how it would relate to his schooling, and he said, “Just up to my first semester of junior year, I still wanted to go into med school.”

I asked him, “You don’t now?”

He shook his head.

I then asked, “Well then, what next?”

He said, “I want to set up a gym to get enough revenue to build the commune.”

I asked, “So what then, are you just going through the motions of getting a degree?”

He looked at me with a sort of resigned frown, and nodded his head. After a moment, he said, “Why think about microbiology when I could be thinking about bettering the people around me? Schools teach so narrowly; they just show you a part of some things, I want to show you the whole of something.”

At one point I asked him (I realize now in an attempt to get a cute little anecdote), where in the world he would choose to go play at, and he said, “Where I’d want to be most is here.  Wishing to go somewhere else requires some kind of sacrifice to get there, and that’s not the point of parkour. If someone tells me, ‘Hey, we’re going to this place,’ then I’ll  make plans to go there, but if not, there’s no reason. It’s not about where you are, it’s what you get from yourself- wherever you are.”

With that, more to come tomorrow, folks.

Additionally: For additional info on UMass’ Parkour Club, you can check out their blog, youtube channel, Facebook page, or simply show up for a session- they’re extremely easy-going, and are extremely welcoming to newcomers, even this far into the semester.

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