Illustrated image for article 5 seconds of summer - My successful jump!

5 seconds of summer - My successful jump

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"If that's all I take away from today's lesson, I'm satisfied," I tell the trainer at the first (and possibly last) Parkour lesson I've ventured to. Occasionally I'll go to the HOP arena, which is full of trampolines to bounce around on. I've gotten some tips on how to bounce on the little boxes. Although at this point, I'm still kind of hoping for some advice on how to train myself to someday do flips. Sure, I'm 35 years old now and the coach himself is considered a veteran in the collective at 22. It's for the young and it also almost feels like a sport from the periphery of society. A bit of inattention, a sense of "immortality" mixed dangerously with the adrenaline that somehow gets released into the body's circulation in that air, I guess. I don't know if that's what it is, but that's how I imagine it. I mean, for the more advanced ones, not for me, who could just do a somersault once in a while, pop out of boredom, and jump back into the joyous sport. In fact, that's what I'd most like to get from Parkour for myself. To put the sparkle back into everyday sport.


              It's the same song over and over again - where do you get the zest for sport? It's easiest when it's fun, fulfilling, and brings me joy. But that's not always the case. I love endurance running and love isn't just a crush, when it doesn't happen on its own you have to persevere. To keep moving, at least a little. It's a vicious cycle, the more you play sports the more strength and energy you have and the more you slack off the sadder you get. It takes work to get fit, but you lose it very quickly.


              "Now we can try that flip," says the coach, as if it's a snap! "I'd rather do the wall first, I'd challenge myself to do the 2.3-meter leg jump, somehow figure out how to train for it." She answers me in all seriousness: "Like from the top down?" 
"Like yeah, Coach, I'm old compared to the local community, but you jump up on trampolines!" There's also some motivational text as big as half a hall that clearly says JUMP UP! And besides, how else would I jump down? I summarize the whole reasoning out loud in one sentence, "And is there any other way to go down then down?" And I'm sure I look offended. 


At my request, we first go to the trampolines, from which we jump onto my favorite wall. "You're gonna jump up this one!" says the coach. I proudly jump on it and with the help of my hands, knees, chin and clumsy movement I climb up. In one leap, he jumps off with his feet. That's what I want to train for! So he patiently teaches me how to jump, and in today's lesson, I already manage to jump up the wall and sit straight on my butt. Like, you jump 2.3 meters and sit there and talk. That's cool. It's not a snooze yet, but I get the point more than I did yesterday, I think.

We talk about how in sports you lose fitness quickly and how slowly you scrape up, how easy and fast it is to progress at the beginning, and from a certain level, it's almost impossible to move up once you reach your limits. When he may have reached them, but he doesn't want to believe that he can't go any further. In fact, we may both have reached a personal ceiling in our favorite sport (me in endurance running, him in Parkour), both of us in worse shape than our best. I mean, in parkour I'm just about at my personal best, but Parkour is just a straw I grasp at to keep me from drowning in my normal worries and forgetting about my life outside of my normal responsibilities. There's nothing you can do about it, life goes on. But in reflection, we don't lose hope that we can still make progress in our favorite sport. We just need to get back to what we were before first and then push it further.


              "Let's go do that flip. You can do that like nothing," he says at once. I reply, startled.
"Like today? You're going to show me how to practice that, right?" But the coach insists, "You can do it in ten minutes." "So I've seen you jump, you have no motor problems, you're not afraid, and it's all about the head," I argue that it's not just about the head, it's also about practice. "Well, let's practice that, now, in ten minutes. You're going to do a backflip into those soft cubes." And we're on the scene. 

"It's in three parts, the first one you jump on your back into the cubes." I do it three times and he praises me. That's the way to do it, praise, for courage and encouragement, I know, and it works for me.

Again, a moment of reflection.

He tells me how he once had a grandfather 85 years old with his grandson there and he wanted to try it too. He doesn't finish the story and proceeds to step two. "Now jump up and grab below the knees. My knees need to be apart so you don't hit your teeth with your knee." I jump, succeeding on the first try. I repeat it as it is supposed to. The coach is pleased. "Now, just the third step, don't worry about it, you'll get a little scared, and I'll sort of flip you over in the air." I pause, sit up again, and before attempting the flip for the first time I ask. "And how about that grandfather, you must have been so worried about him." He replies: "Well I was. I know how it works with kids, I train those, but I was worried about him, not breaking his bones and all.

"Oh yeah, I mean, seniors are very delicate, they can get a fracture, they can just accidentally trip over a piece of furniture somewhere, so you didn't go into it with him.


"But he did, it took him a little longer, but he gave it a go and didn't break anything. So come on, like before, you jump back, grab under your knees and I'll throw you over."


              AND THERE IT IS! My first flip, backward. Then the second and the third. Coach looks at his watch and says, "So it took 7 minutes from the time we said we were going to do it until you did it the first time." I jump again. He slows me down a bit so I don't jump so fast, over and over, so I don't hurt myself, "Don't worry, I'm as flexible as an eight-year-old girl." She doesn't laugh at my original joke, so I obey with a sincere explanation, "If I'm happy." Then it occurred to me that I'd like to film the flip, but I left my tripod at home (never mind), and one of his friends (or students, I don't know how they have it there) relented and said he'd film it for me. Cool! I failed my first two jumps in front of the camera, but nice flip on the third time. Totally brilliantly filmed. Giving the iPhone to someone on the street, instead of a video, maybe he'd take a picture of me, or at best he'd film the whole thing, which I'd then cut out, no problem. But these youngsters are good with it, maybe not all of them either, but I was lucky enough to have a cameraman who just shot 3x7 seconds of nice video without the image moving. 


              So now I honestly don't know if this is where the story of my jumping begins or ends. Because the goal I wanted was to take the long and thorny road, I made it through the first class smoothly and playfully. It exceeded my expectations, from the bottom up and the top down. I have a season pass, and I'll still go jumping, maybe all summer long on a regular feel like it, and know what I can try, and then I'll probably want to share my progress with my trainer so he can teach me something new again. Maybe this sport will become part of my life like winter swimming or cycling.


              As I think about it, I watch the video again in disbelief, remembering my first flip. I was so scared of it. I shared the video on Facebook and a friend texted me, "What's that music playing in the background?" "What? There was music playing? I didn't even notice." So I play the video with the sound and I hear it. They're playing Teeth by 5 Seconds of Summer! That moved me, I didn't really notice it at the time, but somewhere in my subconscious, it was playing. It took something like 5 seconds for that to jump into the flip, flip, and get up from it. Five seconds of summer. Those five seconds are enough for me to spice up the sport this summer.

I honestly don't ask for more with gratitude.

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Background Photo of the author Ludmila Cerovská!
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Ludmila Cerovská

Praha, Czech Republic

Writing is a way for me to be happy and to help others to be happy. I make a lot of mistakes along the way, and I learn from them. And it's that searching, full of traps, that is the point....

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