There’s nothing like a good adrenaline rush! And that’s why I couldn’t wait to get back up on the trapeze. (See part one describing my first visit). After a break of four and a half months since my last class I drove to TSNY Beantown filled with a lingering fear this past Saturday. What if I didn’t enjoy it as much the second time around? What if I couldn’t even do the tricks I had learned the time before? And most importantly I was worried about again being unable to perform the catch at the end of class.
I had most of the same group of girls in tow, and we all opted to retake the ground school lesson. Maybe if it hadn’t been four-plus months I would have felt more confident in running right back up to the platform, because if you have been there before they let you start swinging right away, and you will get more practice in during the two hours.
This class was run by Adam, Krista and Spencer, all of whom were great; explaining the process to the new students, giving pointers after runs and alleviating fears.
My fear was very real as I stood at the edge of the platform, waiting for the instructor to call “HUP”. But this time I was hopefully optimistic that all of the fear would be gone as soon as I left the platform. My hope paid off and I was performing the same trick of hanging by the knees and doing a back flip into the net on my first run. After practicing this a few times Adam, the ground instructor controlling my safety lines, decided it was time for me to move onto the next trick which is called “Heels Off”. For this you hook only your heels instead of your knees and when the instructor calls hands-off you essentially propel yourself superman style into the net.
In actuality I looked more like I was trying to twist my body like a cat to land on my feet. Only less gracefully. And with more screaming. Oh well, this gives me something to strive for next time!
One of the other women in class had been coming for about 6 months and was practicing more advanced moves, working on jumping off the platform in a straddle split and practicing her swing to make it more powerful. It was interesting talking to her about taking so many classes. She had never been able to do one of the Intensive Flying Workshops (IFW) which is a weekly 2 hour class for about 7-10 weeks. She said you progress a lot quicker in those classes because you aren’t slowed down by the beginners who can attend open classes (aka my friends and I!). But even through attending the open classes she was able to progress through the trick “chart”. You start with the tricks in the center ring, and work you way out, and must master all of the tricks in one color before moving on to the next ring. One of the instructors did and example swing, and I asked her if she had ever gone without the safety lines. She explained that no she hadn’t, but she was working her way towards being able to. There is a book you can purchase with TSNY which is ultimately a passport with tricks and agility tests to complete before you are able to fly “line free”. Instructors sign off on these activities in your book, and when complete you will be ready to take the plunge!
At the end of class we were told Spencer was going to begin catching those of us who had successfully completed the knee swing. I was so excited, because if you read part one you will know I had not been successful in doing this on my first visit. I knew that there was a lot of timing that I had to hit perfectly in order to make the catch.
Spencer explained to us that he would be calling our jump this time so that we could be sync’d with him. All lesson Spencer has been wearing all black, but at this point he had changed into a white tank top and leggings with a crazy graphic comic book print on them. As if this wasn’t distracting enough, the water show had begun, with flashing lights and music, which gave this whole jump a feeling of the scene from Finding Nemo when Nemo has to swim through the aquarium volcano to prove his strength. I wanted to come through the other side of this swing as “Shark Bait Oh haha”. (What am I talking about?! Watch it here !)
As soon as I got my knees hooked on the bar I knew that I was going to make the catch. Spencer grabbed my arms, and in the same motion my legs let free of the bar. Spencer is a saint for not letting go as I forgot to hold on and was screaming my head off in excitement. When I hit the net I was smiling ear to ear. Adam gave me some instructions to perfect my next jump, which was mostly to actually hold on this time, and sent my back up for another run. I managed to make the catch that time too, holding on this time, in with more squeals of excitement then actual screaming.
It was a very successful day, and at the end both my roommate Aki and I had made the catch twice. It was a good vindication as she had not made them the previous class either. Between the excitement of that, and having been advanced to “heels off” we both decided we had to come back sooner rather than later and booked our next class for 3 weeks from now. Hopefully the short break means we will be confident enough to get in a few extra swings while everyone else is at ground school. We were even talking about looking into the possibility of doing an IFW… I’d say we’re hooked.