Never Grow Up
Jump Till it Hurts
My Joy for Jumping
For those of you who know me, you know my childhood was anything but traditional. My four brothers and I grew up in a religious home (see Growing Up Mormon) but we never really had rules. My dad was a chemist and explosives engineer with a knack for building things. We had zip-lines, half pipes and go-carts at our disposal but my favorite toy was the trampoline.
When we were young, us kids would camp out on the trampoline, sleeping under the stars. My dad would get on and show us how it was done, back flip after back flip after back flip. In Arizona, he put the trampoline next to our swimming pool and against my mother's wishes we would bounce as high as we could, flipping into the pool over the cement patio.
Later on, the trampoline was buried in the trees alongside our property line in Michigan. My dad built a tree fort above the trampoline and a zip-line reaching from the fort to the back of the treeline an acre away. I would stand on the edge of the fort and flip backwards onto the trampoline ten feet below like it was nothing.
One time, my brothers convinced me it was a good idea to grab the zip-line and run off the fort at full speed. I was going so fast I lost my grip and fell to the ground below. My legs jammed between the springs, slamming my shins against the thick metal bars of the trampoline. To this day, my shins each have a dent.
Time to Play
Fast forward twenty years and not much has changed. My friends and I arranged to spend the day at an indoor trampoline park just outside of Chicago called Sky Zone. The park has a number of trampolines and obstacle courses all set in a huge warehouse.
Sky Zone charges by the hour and has time slots running every 15 minutes. Our group chose a two-hour package for $20 so there was no rush. We made sure to book online because time slots fill up quickly. When we arrived, waivers needed to be signed in case of an accident and we picked up socks for a few bucks. Now, it was time to bounce!
Since we were probably the oldest kids on the trampoline we had to watch out for the little ones even though it wasn't super busy that day. Kids tend to get in the way and it was tricky to stay in your little tiny trampoline square without flying out of control.
We started off bouncing on the open trampolines and I had a tough time keeping to myself. Combine that with my enthusiasm for bouncing and you've got trouble. It didn't take long before I landed on the springs jamming my ankle.
Even with the injury I kept on bouncing. A few of us tried the obstacle courses. They had three options varying in difficulty level. One of the courses wasn't that difficult but the others were pretty tough.
It was so much fun being a big kid again. And honestly I wasn't sure how long I'd last. Spending the last few years in the gym sure did help though. By the time we left I could barely walk but it was totally worth it. We had an incredible time.
Next time around, I think I'll calm down a bit and take it easy. My body sure doesn't work the same way it did 20 years ago and thank goodness my back held out (check out my struggles in, Keep it Right, Keep it Tight).
So get out there. Have fun. Take a risk. What have you got to lose (other than your pride)?