Monday, July 26, 2010

Carpe-ment Diem

Carpe diem means "seize the day."  (NOTE: thanks, Dead Poet's Society!).  Carpe diem represents the winner in you, the fighting spirit that propels you through tough times and keeps great opportunities from slipping away.  Seize the day!

Did I mention you can pay a price for seizing the day?  A bill, so to speak.  It's your carpe-ment diem.

Unlike other bills that exact their tolls in the form of cold hard cash, the price you pay for seizing the day is oftentimes more physical in nature.  It's your proverbial pound of flesh.  Especially if you are almost 40 years old.  Oh, you guessed it, there's a story behind this one...

Last weekend we had my son's birthday party at a gymnastics training facility.  They opened the gym for fifteen children ages five to eight.  And their parents.

Some parents took advantage of the fact that they were not required to stay.  I, being the father of the birthday boy, did not have the luxury of leaving.  I was stuck there, surrounded by the temptation of the trampolines, tumbling mats, and foam pits.  Everything was padded, it seemed.  You'd have to be a fool to get hurt there.

What was I saying?

Oh yes.  The high bar (aka horizontal bar) next to the foam pit.  You know what it is - a horizontal bar that male gymnasts hold on to and spin and do flips and all sorts of cool stuff.  Stuff I can't do.

What was I saying?

Oh yes.  I swung out high over the foam pit, mentally preparing myself to let go of the bar and flip backward (a gainer).  I had plenty of momentum.  Just one more swing and...okay, maybe another one one more and I'll be ready time I'll...screw it, I'm not really gonna do that.  I let go and just jumped into the pit feet first (which was loads of fun, don't get me wrong, but it was too smart to satisfy me long-term).

Most people would recognize their limits right there. I am not most people.  I can do a gainer off a diving board, so I chose instead to attempt a gainer into the foam pit from a straight run.  I did it.  I also did a flip over the vault.  Landed it nicely.  In the foam pit, of course.  So I did a few more.  They got a little better each time.  (NOTE: This is the kind of success that improperly inflates your ego.)

I went back to the high bar and decided that it might be easier to do an inward flip.  I jumped up and grabbed the bar, the foam pit to my back.  I started swinging, the momentum taking me higher each time, visualizing how I would let go when my feet reached their peak behind me, using the upward momentum to carry them over my head as I tucked and executed a perfect inward flip!


I chickened out and just let go again.  As I swam through the foam blocks to the edge I noticed a peculiar sensation on my hands.  It quickly developed into a deep, burning pain.  I looked down and saw that the callus under the ring finger of each hand had opened up like the lid on a sardine can.  Apparently gymnasts use a protective guard or something.  They are sissies and cheaters.

My hands burned for a week.  I had to cut the flaps of skin off.  The open wounds made many menial tasks a murderous malady. (NOTE: thanks, Thesaurus!)

Which can only leave us to ponder one more thing:
Did I learn my lesson?

Yes, I did.  And I can't wait to learn it again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Boy Who Could Fly

My son turns six today!  On Sunday we had a birthday party for him at Gym Extreme, and I took this snapshot.  I had no idea it would turn out all cool-like with him hovering silhouetted against the open door.  Click on the picture for a larger version:

He landed in the foam pit without issue.  Looked so fun I had to try.  I hope to follow this post up later this week with a more in-depth account of the injuries I sustained...