Portrait of the Risk-Taker as a Young Man (or, There’s Something About Spencer)

x-ray of a broken arm
Photo by Peter Burkel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In Victory Journal, Laura Yan profiles Spencer Seabrooke, who breaks world slacklining records walking across loosely tensioned, inch-wide pieces of polyester suspended hundreds of meters in the air. Early in the piece, she talks to his mother, who knew early on that there was something a little different about Spencer.

“He’s never experienced pain like other kids,” says Maureen Kimble, Seabrooke’s mom. She is a sprightly woman with bright eyes, a closely cropped pixie cut, and an enthusiasm she clearly passed on to her son. She tells me about an instance shortly after he started kindergarten when he was run over by a bus. He had multiple fractures in his arm and tire marks in his skin. Kimble met him in the emergency room. “He was so not worried about it,” she says. The tread marks were etched in his flesh for weeks.

While he was getting his cast changed, a stranger saw him in the elevator.

“What happened to you, little boy?”

“Oh I got ran over by a bus,” Spencer lisped. “But it was just a little bus.”

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