Watson Fellow used to call it “play”—now it’s called parkour.
by Bill Giduz
As a kid in Somerville, Mass., Blake Evitt ’10 was the boy leaping over trashcans and scrambling up fences in the neighborhood. In August, he’ll begin a year of travels around the globe as a Watson Fellow, studying parkour, an increasingly popular form of physical training.
Parkour participants run along a route, negotiating obstacles as efficiently as possible, and training the body and mind to react appropriately and quickly. Skilled practitioners, called “traceurs,” typically practice in urban areas like gyms, parks, playgrounds, and abandoned buildings.
Evitt first learned about parkour during a post-high school gap year in France. Two years later in a Davidson French class, he wrote a paper about it. Last summer he received an Abernethy Grant from the college to spend several weeks in Paris with some of the founders of the parkour movement, filming and studying their training sessions and efforts to establish a parkour academy.
That experience provided enough material for his senior thesis—and the basis for a Watson Fellowship application. After his Watson year, Evitt will attend graduate school at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Someday he’d like to share his interest with kids from back home. “I would like to start a parkour academy in the Boston area to try to make a difference in their lives,” he said.
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