Misadventures in Wonderland: Trampolining

Every month we send our intrepid columnist Alice to try something new. This time, it's trampolining

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Misadventures in Wonderland: Trampolining

What experience do I have?
I used to work in a trampoline centre for children’s birthday parties. We had six full-sized trampolines in a converted garage that we’d release the kids into, orchestrating it so the jelly and ice cream were eaten after the vicious jumping, as cleaning up sick was already too inevitable.

That it?
I’ve also, more than once, tried to keep a plastic champagne flute upright while sprawled on a trampoline in a friend’s garden. You probably know the kind I mean because, according to You’ve Been Framed, everyone has one of these things gathering bird droppings and bits of broken toys round the back of the house.

What was I expecting?
That I would be great at it. All those years jumping over to switch the bouncy castle off at the wall at the end of the day must’ve paid off somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I could push myself to do a flip where I land awkwardly on my spine. I could also run across them all at high speed and my ankles only would end up looking like watermelons if I’d worn cowboy boots to work that day. So I was expecting it to be a muck about. I was so arrogant that I didn’t consider that I’d be quite so bad at professional jumping.

What did I learn?
Firstly, I learned that roaming around an empty, dated leisure centre is like being in a low-budget, arthouse horror film. That aside, I learned that professional trampolining is actually all about discipline and grace, not the guerrilla, safety-ignoring style I’d generally practise on my own. I learned a few different jumps: putting my legs out in front, a ‘straddle’, a turn, one where I tucked my knees in and, the worst one, where I had to fall onto my front and try to not shatter my face. You score points by looking like everything was intentional and controlled. I struggled to know where my arms should be and where I should be looking. It was the equivalent of learning gymnastics, but drawing only on your history of falling down stairs. The teacher was patient with me while I tried to put two relatively simple moves together. I couldn’t even work out how to spin exactly 180° in an unflappable way so incorporating this into a smooth routine proved more and more frustrating.

How does my body feel?
It’s been a while since I’ve had skint elbows. Plummeting towards a woven floor will do that to you. A couple of times when I hit the bottom, I felt my shoulder nearly dislodge, like when you try to open a KitKat in a low blood-sugar induced panic. To make matters worse, I spent the rest of the weekend walking around like I was carrying an invisible medicine ball. I think it’s best for me to stick to gravity for the time being, partly to avoid more public slumping but mainly to try and grow my self-belief back.

Adult Trampolining, Meadowbank Sports Centre, Edinburgh, Fridays. Call 0131 661 5351 for details.

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