Trapeze: It’s a Sport

Runs last week:

Finally! It’s warm enough to run outside! By “warm enough” I mean 20°. Truly, it feels warm.

✧ 3.95 miles, 46:00 – 11:38 pace
✧ 3.5 miles, 40:00, BoMF – 11:25 pace
✧ 4 miles, 38:41 – 9:41 pace
✧ 3 miles, 29:19 – 9:46 pace

Trapeze 7-1

Against better judgment, I signed up to take another trapeze class on Friday night. I say against better judgment because, being Valentine’s Day, I feared it would be a class filled with newbies on dates. Save for one other person, I was right. My schedule was such that if I didn’t take a class then, I wouldn’t be able to take one for another few weeks and that idea made me sad (plus, I’ve learned that if I wait too long between classes I feel all discombobulated up there), so I sucked up my single pride and went.

Now, I have nothing against newbies and still feel like one myself most days. One of the things I love about trapeze classes, though, is that you typically get a range of experience in the class, such that you have some people who are below you and who you get to advise on their tricks, you have some people above you who you get to learn from, and you have a few newbies who you get to encourage and applaud when they take their first flight. Also, after the first class most people come by themselves because they no longer care if their friends want to join them, they just want to fly. I missed that sense of camaraderie you share with a group of people who don’t care if everything thinks they’re all just a little bit crazy.

Trapeze 7-3

Anywho, on Friday I took a big step and had my first go at the swing. I have been told countless times by students and instructors that while the swing looks like the easiest thing to do, it is, in fact, the hardest. Boy, were they right. During my first swing I could immediately feel the strain on my shoulders and was surprised by how little movement I built from the back and forth of my legs. I like to believe that I am strong, but it was evident to me how much more strength I need to gain to be able to do this. To everyone who always marvels, “You need to be really strong for that,” when I say I take trapeze classes, I always counter with, “Not really,” because in the beginning momentum is doing most of the work for you. But the swing? This is where you need to be strong. My upper body and core have got some work to do.

(And why do people always say, “You have to be really flexible to do that”? Sure, flexibility helps with any physical endeavor, but this is not contortion class.)

As you may have gathered from the first photo, catching was less than successful yet again. I threw the Penny Roll twice, the first time grazing the catcher’s palms but not getting the grasp around our wrists. (I was so close!) During the second catch, well, let’s just say that we had some issues with her hand and my face trying to occupy the same spot in the space-time continuum. I bounced off of her feeling as though I had been sucker punched in the nose. Let’s take a look at that up close, shall we?

Trapeze 7-2

It was pretty painful. My confidence was shot at that point, so when the lines instructor asked if I wanted another try, I declined even though I would not normally forgo the chance to do a catch. I couldn’t have done it in the shaky mindset I was in. I later asked him why that happened and what I did wrong. He said that I had been fine and that he may have called my hup a little early. The catcher added that there had been so many variations in height amongst the students and that may have thrown off her timing. “Sometimes mid-air collisions happen,” the lines instructor told me. “It’s a sport.”

I was not particularly mollified by that explanation. Getting beaned in the face is not what I come to trapeze classes for and as I headed home I felt a bit dejected by the whole experience. I wondered if I wanted to keep taking classes if this was what I had to look forward to.

On Saturday afternoon I sat at home catching up on some of the Olympics coverage I had recorded throughout the week. As I watched a snowboarder crack her helmet on her run, an alpine skier go flying off the course and bounce off the fence, one of the American athletes fall and do what the commentators called “the penguin slide” down the slopes, and countless figure skaters biting the ice, I felt a bit silly. Of course. It’s a sport. Sometimes you miss. Sometimes you fall. Sometimes you collide with someone else in mid-air. You get back up and you do it again.

Perhaps because I have zero experience with sports and athletics, this is new to me. I’ve never taken a spill during gymnastics or been struck by a wayward softball. I’m used to staying upright on the ground and I quite like it. I’m certain I’m not the only student to have had this happen, just as I’m certain it won’t be the last time it will happen to me. But next time, when it does, I will get back up and I will do it again.

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2 comments

  1. Of all the things to fear in trapeze — getting nailed in the face is not one that had crossed my mind. I was afraid of falling…which is a bit more expected in the scheme of things. But getting hit…that’s completely unexpected. I would have been completely thrown off by that as well.

    1. Nor I. Nowadays it’s like, the ladder ain’t nothin’. Taking the jump? A breeze. But please, please, PLEASE don’t catch my face!

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