“There is a girl in New York City / Who calls herself the human trampoline / And sometimes when I'm falling, flying / Or tumbling in turmoil I say / Oh, so this is what she means / She means we're bouncing into Graceland”
Paul Simon, Graceland
This week Jaimie and I are off to Extreme Air Park in Richmond to do an AIRobics class. Extreme Air Park is an indoor trampoline park that features the world's largest all-trampoline, walled playing courts for: 3D dodgeball, basketball, half pipe, gymnastics, AIRobics or just to bounce around with a stupid grin on your face. The AIRobics class was Jaimie's idea and I only needed a little reassurance that she wouldn't let anyone steal my bounce (which would totally make me cry) before I agreed to join her.
After work I get on the Canada Line and it's a 20 minute ride out to Bridgeport station. Arriving at Bridgeport I realize my phone is dead and Jaimie and I haven't really made a plan for where she'll pick me up. I doubt she'll drive into the bus loop so I make my way to the edge of the road and stare intently at each passing car. A few drivers seem moderately interested in picking me up but luckily Jaimie drives up before long. It's a 10 minute drive from there to the Extreme Air Park.
Arriving early we fill out the lengthy waiver, pay our $14, put our stuff in a locker, don our rubber soled socks and set off to explore. Walking up some stairs we emerge into an enormous room with high ceilings. The room is a patchwork of trampolines, with some long trampoline runways, surrounded by angled trampolines walls. I step out into the room tentatively at first, bouncing a little on the spot. After a minute or two we are bouncing from one trampoline to the next and eventually I try throwing myself up against a trampoline wall, which looks about as awkward as it sounds. We have the giant space almost entirely to ourselves, except for a teenage boy at the other end of the room, who is enthusiastically doing all kinds of fancy flips and having some crouching tiger, matrix moments flipping off the far wall.
Jaimie spies a sign that suggests more trampolines so we head off down a hall and discover a whole other room, broken up into various courts, including: basketball courts, a 3D dodgeball court, a half pipe and foam pits to bounce into! I feel like I'm 7 years old again and can't stop grinning ear to ear as I run from one trampoline area to the next. We shoot some hoops, throw some dodge balls at each other and even run and bounce into the foam pit a few times. It isn't long before we are panting and exhausted. (That foam pit is a lot of work to climb out of dammit). That's when bouncy boy from the other room comes over and introduces himself as our AIRobics instructor and informs us that class will begin in a few minutes.
Bright pink and sweating profusely, we take a break from bouncing to drink some water, cool off and prepare to do some AIRobics. And so AIRobics class starts: just me, Jaimie and some 17 year old boy. He does a quick review of some of the moves we'll be doing during the class, showing us some different bounces: front to back, side to side, touch your toes etc. We follow along doing awkward, stunted versions of each move.
Once the class gets going I last all of 2 minutes before I have to run off and pee. Once I return from the bathroom the class continues about 5 minutes longer before Jaimie runs off to the bathroom. (Damn, that bouncing and laughing do things to a girl's bladder). After trying out a few bounces it's time to do some drills. Jaimie and I race each other from one end of the room to the other, jumping up the far wall to touch a foam barrier before sliding down and racing back across the room and scrambling up the opposite wall. I notice that I'm a bit faster than Jaimie and am feeling pretty rad about that when, in my excitement, I forget to lift my hand as I slide down the wall and end up with a wicked friction burn on my finger that quickly reddens, swells and hurts like hell. Bounce boy runs off to get some ice for the old lady and while he's gone Jaimie admits that she just did the same thing, only with her elbow and face, and her lip is now burning. We conclude that we've had enough and when bounce boy returns we thank him and tell him we're done with AIRobics for today.
That's when we notice the time; it appears we've lasted all of 20 minutes. Less than proud, we nonetheless take comfort in the fact that we were bouncing around for 20 minutes or so before class started; so that's like 40 minutes of exercise, right? Clutching my ice pack we bounce around a bit more, and even take a video or two before groups of white tee shirt clad teens begin appearing. A few minutes later the room goes black, the music gets loud and the disco and black lights start. Disoriented, sweating and injured Jaimie and I retreat from the bouncing room of teens. Grabbing our stuff out of the lockers, we play a video game or two in the lobby before making our way out into the cool evening air.
I'm pretty sure Extreme Air Park is meant for kids and teenagers but I still had a ridiculous amount of fun. Injuries aside, the glee and excitement of discovering all those different areas to bounce and play in was pretty great. My finger only burns for a day or so and my ribs and back are only sore for a few days after that. Next time I need some gloves (to protect against burns), maybe a helmet, some tylenol and a white tee shirt obviously.