Gymnastics: Trampoline

I’m back. Sorry I went away for so long, I just wanted to make you miss me/was taking a bit of time out to eat cake, and, when I wasn’t eating cake, I spent the rest of the last month, in no particular order:
· Injuring myself;
· Celebrating the birth of Christ/receiving sports themed presents;
· Trying to run;
· Agonising over my show tune for an ill-fated rhythmic gymnastics competition; and
· Trying to attend a trampolining class.

*shakes fist at sky*

I know I promised you rhythmic gymnastics on the 19th of January. Believe me, I was as devastated as you by the senseless postponement of this competition. However, in keeping with common winter weather patterns of countries in the northern hemisphere, it snowed that weekend. As is customary during such annual events, the nation took rubbish photos and spent days with their noses pressed against office windows whilst absolutely nothing worked. *Shakes fist at sky again*. Have no fear it will happen, because I have a show tune now, and by God it’s amazing.

I started to develop a bit of a complex about my 13th Olympic discipline. Apart from the rhythmic gymnastics postponement, I’d tried to organise trampolining earlier in the month, but had to cancel due to a cockup at the sports centre. I’d also cancelled synchronised swimming approximately 12 times because I think I’m actually mentally scarred by the water polo experience.

I started to wonder if this was my unlucky discipline, which is really not how you want to feel as you prepare yourself for trampolining or indeed when one of your best friends tells you they know someone who broke their neck whilst trying it. The feeling of unease stayed with me as I was told, upon arrival at Talacre Sports Centre, I must remove my belly button piercing, lest it become caught in the trampoline and torn from my body. Blind panic started to set in as it became apparent that after 13 years, that bellybutton ring wasn’t going anywhere and I had to resign myself to the futility of a plaster.

“Well,” the coach told me, “you won’t be able to land on your front”. Really? I won’t be allowed to launch myself face first onto the trampoline? That is a shame.

The thing about gymnastics is, when you’re old enough to fear spinal injury, it does rather lose its appeal. I’m a naturally risk averse person who had to have their scalp glued back together last year, when it got a bit closer to a concrete floor in Dalston than anyone should hope for. Having seen my flatmate’s photos of me vomiting into a paper hat in Homerton A&E,naturally, it’s an experience I’d prefer not to repeat.

Also, gymnastics are HARD. I know this, because my mate Cariad and I went to a class just before Christmas, where we were taught how to forward roll as adults. Cariad nearly cried and I promptly pulled my intercostal muscles. I consequently spent four days in agony, thinking I was having a heart attack but refusing to seek medical attention, then another four off my face on red wine and prescription strength pain killers.The latter part wasn’t altogether unpleasant.

Not as easy as it looks. Admittedly, this doesn't make it look easy.

Not as easy as it looks. Admittedly, this doesn’t make it look easy.

The trampolining class, based at Talacre Sport Centre in Kentish Town, is quite lovely. A drop in class for adults is run alongside the Monday night club for adults with physical and learning disabilities, which draws a pretty inclusive crowd and feels a lot friendlier than some of the places I’ve been to during this silly project.

Getting there

Getting there

Tom, who used to compete at national level, but gave it up after he started getting all sorts of injuries, took me through the basics. I started off just trying to jump up and down without falling over, which was frankly challenging enough, before we went through some other moves. Tom taught me the straddle, knee tuck, erm, the one where you bounce off your bum back up to standing again, and a couple of spinning things. The spinning things, as I believe is the technical term (it isn’t) were ridiculously hard to get the hang of.

Dial A for Amazing. Sort of.

Dial A for Amazing. Sort of.

“You’re just jumping then moving as if you’re looking under the shoulder of the direction you want to go in”, he tells me. This sounds easy, but it isn’t.

This is fairly easy, if I'm honest

This is fairly easy, if I’m honest

After a while, Tom decided that if we put a mat down, I would be allowed to launch myself face first on to the trampoline after all – I could even launch myself back first on to trampoline! This is not easy, because launching yourself face or spine first onto something doesn’t feel particularly natural especially if, like me, you are scared of EVERYTHING. Still, I’m here to learn and learn I shall.

Look at those Lines, or something.

Look at those Lines, or something.

Whilst the trampoline is pretty scary, its also amazingly good fun. I felt like I was jumping as high as the buff men who were doing CRAZY spinning things in the air. It felt awesome until I landed slightly clumsily and started to feel a little out of control. Imagine, then, my disappointment on watching the video of the beginner’s routine which Tom painstakingly taught me, to discover my jumps were in fact very low and completely void of grace.

I’m probably never going to be brave enough to do a back flip,which might limit my progression in this sport, but I might go back anyway.

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Jen

6

6

1

13

Jade

2

1

3

Gemma

2

2

Nick

2

2

John

1

1

Naomi

1

1

Otter Water Polo

1

1

Steve

1

1

Simon

2

2

Uncle Becky

2

2

Ali

1

1

James

1

1

My Mum

1

1

Nic

1

1

Pete

1

1

Harriet

1

1

 

© Inspire a Jen, 2013.

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