Gravity Rules: Club takes name serious

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

For Ed Duffy, the name of his Ohio University Southern club Gravity Adventures isn’t just a catchy title … it’s a mandate.

“We focus on activities that basically use gravity, or opposition to gravity,” Duffy said. “Mountain biking, skateboarding, skiing, traction kiting, even sky diving, if people are interested. Rather than having a specific activity-oriented, I thought it would be better to have something that was more eclectic.”

Although they’ve been active since last fall, perhaps its appropriate, considering the name, that the sociology professor’s outdoor adventure club is still trying to get off the ground.

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The club has around 20 members on their mailing list, although there are only around seven in attendance on this sunny Wednesday afternoon.

The meetings are largely planning sessions, looking for activities around the area that the group can participate in.

The group gathered is just as eclectic, with students and faculty in attendance, all of varying interests. Even Duffy’s daughter, 26-year-old philosophy major Meghan, is in tow.

The former Girl Scout is almost as enthusiastic as her dad about the outdoors and has a tough time picking her favorite activity.

“That’s hard,” said Meghan. “Probably backpacking, because you get to go into the wilderness areas. You get to get away from civilization and see more wildlife.”

She attends as many of the (usually) monthly meetings as she can, not only to meet others with similar interests, but because, she says, she feels the work that her father is doing is important.

“I just feel that our society is moving further away from nature, which I don’t feel is right,” Meghan said. “It’s good to go back to nature, people need to get away from work and stress and … concrete.”

The group has been on a couple of trips already, and they’ve been looking for other opportunities, like trips to a skate park in Athens or to spots as near as Symmes Creek.

Much of the meeting is spent making these plans, but the mood gradually becomes one of a modern day hunting lodge, as there are plenty of stories swapped of outdoor exploits.

Many are Duffy’s, harrowing tales of near-miss mountain biking and sky diving, but others soon join in with their own experiences of base jumping, rafting, even finding a nest of copperheads.

It’s this spirit of community that Duffy aims to foster in the coming months as their numbers, he hopes, grow.

“We’re trying to schedule several activities a quarter as there’s interest,” Duffy said. “We’re really in a building stage right now, trying to get a core of members and take care of the really diverse interests that they’ve been displaying.”

One of those students he has reached is Tyler Gagai, who said he joined to try to fit more of the outdoors into his schedule, to maybe more often escape the concrete that Meghan warns against.

“I like to camp a lot,” Gagai said. “I don’t get out as nearly as much as I’d like. I want to more, as long as it doesn’t conflict with my other engagements. I’ve got a lot of responsibilities.”

Although the club may have low attendance now, Duffy doesn’t seem worried. In the end, he hopes that the siren call of the local flora and fauna will be all of the advertising that he needs.

“We do have, just nearby, some good resources,” Duffy said. “I think we’ve got the potential to grow.”

More information about Gravity Adventures is available at or by e-mailing Duffy at