Saturday I shook off a dusty old Groupon and took a flying trapeze class at Emerald City Trapeze. That was so frickin' fun! I cannot recommend the experience enough. Last spring, my friend Amber took a flying trapeze class at the same place and when I read her blog post about it I was so very jealous. It sounded like such a blast! Something a little dangerous, but not really, that would totally push me outside my comfort zone. So I invited my future sister-in-law and off we went to fly through the air.
Before you get up on the actual trapeze the instructors walk you through "ground school" where they teach you how to jump off the platform, walk you through exactly what is going to happen and then take you through your moves on a stationary chin-up bar. Now, before I actually got there I was worried that my noodly bookkeeper arms would be an issue. What I should have been worrying about, and what somehow never crossed my mind, was my core strength, or lack thereof. Once they showed you the moves: hang from the bar, lift your legs up through your arms and loop them over the bar and then......wait.....you want me to do what?! Oh shit. This was going to be a problem. I have such little core strength that it is a wonder I can actually walk upright. I didn't think my legs would get up onto that bar. With a lot of help from the instructor and some very ungraceful movements I hefted my stems up there and finished the rest of the moves: release your hands, bend back, look back while reaching your hands out, put your hands back on the bar and then release your legs and dismount. They promised us that it was easier in the air with momentum and a kind of momentary weightlessness a the height of your swings. I hoped like hell they were right.
Seriously, the scariest part of this whole thing was the dang ladder. It was tiny and bounced with every step. It was also very high. But they have you safety harnessed in for getting up the ladder and then they undo that line and strap you into two other safety lines before you do your trick. The platform is narrow and you stand and contemplate your fate while you hold onto a safety bar with your left hand and reach out your right to grab the trapeze. Then the other super scary part comes which is letting go of the safety bar with your left hand and grabbing the bar. Mind you, you are about 25 feet in the air and you have to lean out over the net, away from the platform to do this. The instructor has hold of your safety belt, you are harnessed in and in case all of that fails there is a huge net at the bottom to catch you but it is still a little terrifying to let go and reach for that bar. It goes against all of your instincts. Once you have the bar in your hands you get the signal to bend your knees and hop off the platform and go swinging out over the net.
Now, what is supposed to happen is exactly what you did in ground school. At the first high-point of the swing the legs are supposed to go up and over the bar.......and I couldn't do it. Wasn't happening. So we went right into the back flip into the net. Kick legs forward, back, forward and then grab knees and flip. That was a tremendous amount of fun and something I was actually able to do each time. After the rest of the class got through with their first turns we got to go again. Same thing only less nervous on the platform and ladder. I jumped and.....no knee hang. But I was closer. Third time I came so unbelievably close, I almost had it. After watching the video I think a little more knee bend and I would have had it. But the last back flip I did was pretty great so there was at least that. So, because I wasn't able to complete the moves I obviously couldn't do the catch but I loved watching the rest of the class do it. Everyone but me and the 13 and 10 year-old boys got to do the catch. My sis-in-law to be decided she wasn't going to participate in the class during ground school so she didn't get to go either.
I can't say enough great things about this experience. I don't have a fear of heights but it still was pretty scary. I was a little shaky and sweating like the proverbial whore in the proverbial church. You are asking yourself to do things that your mind does not want you to do. But the instructors were so kind and genuine and supportive and the set-up was so very safe that it helped me be able to go for it and try something totally different and, frankly, very awesome. I plan on going back in a few months once I work on my core strength. I WILL get my legs up and over that bar and I WILL get to do a catch. I have unfinished business with that trapeze.