John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Robbie Griffith is starting to get noticed in the urban sport, and it's easy to see why.
I will freely admit that Robbie Griffith is much cooler than I was at age 12. For me, a slammin' day in the seventh grade involved consuming Frosted Mini-Wheats while watching Animaniacs. Griffith, on the other hand, prefers to execute flawless tuck-and-rolls on punishing concrete and hurdle over the deep chasms between buildings.
Griffith, who goes by the street name "Wee Beastie," is the youngest-ever member of Parkour Generations, a London-based organization devoted to furthering the urban sport. He was accepted into the group last month as a trainee in the "Developing Athlete Programme," a mentoring gig that matches parkour prodigies with older, wiser and no doubt bruised-er free runners. Griffith, who sometimes wears a backpack to practice, is "an exceptional young man with real talent, passion and dedication to the discipline," writes Generations, "and we are sure he has a bright future on our mentoring programme and in parkour in general."
The fleet-footed lad has trained for more than a year at the Coatbridge parkour course, thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland. (Police and the local government built it to stop kids from running around on area rooftops.) Fellow Coatbridge enthusiast Peter McKee posted this video of the Beastie doing his thing on YouTube, saying: "Move over Altaïr and Ezio. Looks like Abstergo doesn't need the Animus to go all Assassin's Creed on the streets!" (If you understand that, you might be playing too many video games.) That body ricochet off the wall at 1:20 is straight out of a Jackie Chan flick.
And here's the youngster kicking it in Scotland, performing a four-part leapfrog of walls like it was nothing: