I cannot even explain the pain I was in on Saturday and Sunday…and actually through ’til Wednesday… All because of maybe ten total minutes of exercise on Saturday. You may think this is pathetic, and you would be correct, but a few days of pain is the norm for someone who takes trapeze lessons at the Trapeze School of New York, on Pier 40 (Houston & the West Side Highway).
#24 Take trapeze lessons
Kat suggested trapeze lessons for my list of 28 Things and offered to try it out with me. This was one of the items I was most nervous about because I’ve recently discovered that I’m apparently a little scared of falling (as noted here and here) but also I was sure I just wouldn’t physically be capable, even thought I have been running and working out for the past few months.
But get this, I actually was able to do it! Trapeze School of New York is fantastic. Their adorable tagline is: “Forget fear. Worry about the addiction.” They had just opened up for the season when we went and I understand why. It was still way too cold and windy to be doing what we were doing, especially considering that we had to stand in our socks for two hours on a wet-from-the-night-before astroturfy surface a few stories in the air on top of the pier.
Luckily, wet socks were the worst part of the day. The instructors were amazing and really made sure everyone was able to succeed. Caitlin and Henry took turns standing up on the jumping platform and putting on our lines so we didn’t fall and Jeff called out the instructions and held onto ropes that could swing the bar if we needed it. Kat and I were joined in our lesson by a group there for a birthday. Some of them picked it up really quickly and were able to get their legs up on the first try. Kat and I were convinced they had done this before or at least met each other in gymnastics when they were little, but they denied this. If they didn’t have the last name of Barnum, then they probably did well because they weren’t as terrified as I was. It turns out, like most things, trapeze is very mental. I don’t understand physics AT ALL, but there’s something about you being in the air that makes it not about strength or athleticism.
While still on the ground, we practiced what to do when we got up on the platform, getting into position and making sure we jumped with our legs together. We then had to climb the shaky ladder, set up how we had practiced, and jump for real. Jeff called out instructions while we were swinging to bring our legs up to the bar, let go of the bar with our arms, and then bring our arms back up and our legs back out. We then were supposed to let go and fall on the net. My first and second time jumping, I couldn’t get my legs up to the bar. I was hesitant each time and was jumping without thinking to keep my legs together. Caitlin mentioned to me that I seemed the most nervous of everyone, which I assured her was perfectly normal.
Finally, on the third jump, after side practice with Caitlin and words of encouragement from everyone, I was able to do it, to roll my legs in and over the bar. I didn’t have the confidence to release my arms right away but I did it eventually and it felt great. Everyone else had tried a backflip dismount but I didn’t have enough momentum for that, but I told Jeff I was just happy enough to do the leg thing and fell down into the net.
The final jumps were us swinging on one bar and Henry swinging on the other bar and trying to catch us. I went into it thinking “Erin, it’s okay if you don’t make it, at least you got your legs over the bar.” I tried once and didn’t have my arms over my head enough for Henry to grab them. But then I got to try one more time and did the last jump of the day for the whole group and I actually did it correctly (or correctly enough) and he caught me. It was awesome.
So in the end, like other things, it took me a little longer to get than everyone else, but I still had a great lesson and would do it again if anyone wants to get a group together, hint hint. Especially since I won’t be scared this time around and will probably not scream or shout “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God” during my jumps.