With BEA concluded,it was time to put work aside and find adventure again. Earlier in the week rain had cancelled my high flying education but today turned out bright and sunny. A large group had assembled (complete with an MTV crew) for our class and everyone was excited and ready to go. Those that hadn’t signed waivers yet had to do so and those of us who had quickly found ourselves signing MORE waivers for the MTV crew so they could do their filming.
The instruction went really fast. As in, super fast. The guy asked us if we had any questions and no one had any…until he told us we would be doing knee hangs from the very first time we touched the trapeze bar. There were several minutes of stunned silence before the fear took hold of all of us and just about everyone started asking tons of questions. He explained that doing a trick the first time out would help us get over our fears at the onset. He lied.
Loaded up with safety gear, practicing the move in my fuzzy monkey socks, I kept getting more and more nervous. When it came time to sign up for our flying order, everyone started taking the last spots. That left me second. I was only happy I wasn’t first.
I have no fear of heights but grabbing a bar that weighs nearly 15 pounds and is threatening to pull you off a tiny ledge high up in the sky is a world all its own. While waiting my turn at the top, I sincerely thought I was going to be sick. Over the course of the class, I think I went up four or five times and, honestly, that feeling never went away. It was a sick sort of perversion that made me keep going up but here’s the thing: once up there, you have nothing to do but what they tell you.
Fellow classmates are screaming their support for you but you don’t hear them: the only voice you hear is the one giving your instructions. Everything else is nonexistent and I fell in instant love with that type of concentration. Somewhat like rock climbing but on a much, much more intense level, the concentration required makes the world drop away. Never in my life have I experienced something that takes me away from everything so completely. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Would I still be ill every time I stepped on that platform? Undoubtedly.
But just when you come to terms with standing on this tiny platform and being tugged off by the heavy bar, it’s time to let go. Wait, what?? Yeah, all I could do was swallow the knot in my throat and let go.
Our first trick was a “simple” knee hang. Simple in that if you ever played on the monkey bars as a kid, you know what a knee hang is. Not so simple in that you are flying so high off the ground. I made the mistake of attempting to pull myself up on the bar instead of using momentum and didn’t come close to getting my legs up on the first try. The second time around I did much better (still terrified on the platform but did the knee hang without problem). Look, ma!! No hands!!!!
Once back on the ground, I kept getting grief about my pointed toes. It’s leftover from a childhood spent in gymnastics, I suppose, but it was natural for me to keep my legs together and my toes pointed. Everyone else struggled with this and, in the friendliest of banter, would rib me about my form. The instructor told me at least I LOOK like I know what I’m doing. I couldn’t decide if that was a compliment or not. Our next trick was a flip dismount. I loved this. Everyone else hated it. I’m kind of backwards that way. I loved the flip off the bar and the flip off the net. I could have happily done those all day.
The last thing we were going to try was a catch. Everyone was nervous about this because it changed up who was calling our moves (the catcher calls so everything can be timed perfectly). The crowd was really loud with supportive yells and, sadly, I couldn’t hear my calls at all. I didn’t even get off the platform on time much less do a knee hang or catch. The MTV filming had caused us some delays during the class and we were out of time but they were nice enough to let those of us who didn’t catch try one last time. Knowing it was my last chance probably ever to do this, I was determined. And…succeeded!! I felt like Wendy from Peter Pan learning how to fly on her own…even my flashy sequined catcher helped with the fairytale ending for the class.
The video below captures my flying experience and has two of the “tricks” shown. Hope you enjoy it and…go try out trapeze for yourself it’s an experience you’ll never forget!!