Facing Fear and Soaring to New Heights

I am afraid of heights, always have been, always will be. Yet, it's never stopped me from attempting to conquer them. From jumping off buildings in stunt shows to hiking to the top of Angels Landing, I've managed to drag my jello legs to staggering heights and do my best to not to look down. So why not try the flying trapeze? Most kids dream of running away with the circus and for me I always dreamt of being an olympic gymnast. Ignoring the fact the I was 5'6 by the age of 10, and not exactly slim or flexible in any way...in my mind I could soar through the air and make my body do the things I imagined. My olympic dreams never came true and with each year my athletic ability and already limited flexibility were becoming a distant memory. Seemed as good a time as any to attempt the flying trapeze! I was first introduced to the Trapeze School of New York by visiting the Santa Monica Pier and seeing people flying. Seemed like a blast but I had no idea it was open to the public. When I saw a Groupon for a two hour class for $42 I jumped at the chance to give it a go! Come to find out TSNY had schools in 5 different locations, New York, LA, Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. If there is one near you or you're visiting one of these locations I highly recommend trying it out!

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Showing up at the pier for my class I had no idea what to expect. All I was told was to wear tight clothing and socks. From years of beginner gymnastics classes, I figured the first hour or so would be spent stretching and going over the basics before eventually climbing the ladder to maybe swing back and forth. When I showed up I was surprised, our instructor and catcher Dean went over the basic stances and calls and then lined us up (of course I ended up being first), hooked us in, and up we went!

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While the 23 foot tall platform did not seem intimidating from the ground, climbing the metal ladder seemed endless and death defying! That was until I was standing on the tiny platform above looking down! After getting all hooked in to the flying harness by our board worker Lizzy, it was time to go. To reach the bar and get in proper position, I had to stick my pelvis out and lean forward with my toes inching over the edge and with one arm outstretched, grab the bar. Once I had the bar with both hands my cues were READY (bend my knees slightly) and HUP (jump off and hold on for dear life). My legs would NOT go! After Lizzy called out about 7 times I finally managed to jump off and it was such an amazing feeling soaring through the air! Until I had to let go and that took another two times to trust the net below and our lines puller Andrea.

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After the first terrifying jump, I was pumped! Climbing the ladder never seemed to get any easier but reaching out and jumping became a thrill! After four times of swinging, getting our legs hooked on the bar, letting go to reach back, and accomplishing a back flip dismount, it was time to try a catch. I never dreamed that on a first class they would get us to the point of attempting such an awesome feat! Pumping with adrenaline I prepared as Dean swung on the adjacent bar. As I reached back on my final swing toward him our finger tips brushed for what seemed like eternity before realizing I was not going to make a catch today. While the failed catch was a small disappointment, for my first time attempting flying I was thrilled with my progress and hyped with adrenaline.

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This was such a unique and amazing opportunity and with such wonderful people. I could not have been happier with my experience at TSNYLA and the feeling of accomplishment from facing a fear was worth every terrifying moment. Since my motto is to try everything twice, looks like I'll be back for round two and hopefully a successful catch. To learn more check out www.trapezeschool.com 

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