Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Climbing the Walls

by Stephanie Black

We just returned from a family reunion at a gorgeous, clear green lake in Tennessee. One of the fun lake activities was a water trampoline equipped with . . . the Blob. Here is a picture of my son being bounced into orbit off the Blob. The Blob is a long, squishy, rectangular extension from ths side of the water trampoline. It's not inflated tightly, so if you jump onto one end, that end will flatten as the air is forced into the other end. This is how we played on it: a younger kid would jump onto the Blob and scoot so they were sitting near the far end. Then an adult would jump onto the other end of the Blob, which would launch the kid off the Blob and into orbit. It was really very entertaining to watch. Some of the flights weren't that good--for instance, if the kid was sitting too near the end of the Blob, he might just slip into the water without a good flight. The good bounces launched the kid high above the water, limbs flailing in every direction, after which the Blob rider would splash into the lake, bob to the surface grinning, and go back for more.

Man, but kids are flexible. And lithe and strong. I tried kneeboarding while we were at the lake. You start by lying flat on the kneeboard, and then as the boat starts going, you draw your knees up underneath you and then straighten up so you are kneeling on the board. Kids make it look so easy, but when I tried, I couldn't drag my knees up underneath me while fighting the tremendous force of the water rushing past me. If I'd kept at it for a few days I probably could have gotten up long enough to fall over, but it sure wasn't as easy as my daughter made it look. Not only am I not particularly athletic--okay, I'm not athletic at all, but when it comes to upper body strength, I have zilch. And when it comes to leg strength, I don't have much there either.

Take, for instance, the rock wall climbing that we did at girls' camp. Most of our twelve-year-old campers went shooting up the wall like it was a stroll in the park. When I tried it, I needed a boost even to get past the first footholds. Then I got stuck partway up. "I can't do this," I told the rappelling people as I trembled there on the wall. "I really can't do this." I wasn't afraid of falling--I knew the harness would catch me. I was afraid that I simply did not have the strength to climb that wall. But failure was not an option. That's how rappelling works at our camp. Our rappelling experts are wonderful, kind, encouraging, and determined. You won't fail. You can do this. The experts below talked me up that wall and darned if I didn't reach the top. After that climb, the actual rappelling was easy. I'd only rappelled once before, and that was on a little cliff-y thing. This rappelling was on the side of a huge, sheer rock face in the High Sierras. I thought I'd be scared when it was my turn to stand at the top, ready to go down the mountain, but it ended up being easy. The key was to not look down while I was starting, so before I knew it, I was on my way down the rock. It was actually very cool. I can go down--it's going up that turned me to quivering jelly.

But the funny thing about that wretched climbing wall that gave me so much trouble is that I don't feel like wow, I'll never do that again. I feel like I want to get in better shape before the next girls' camp so I can get up that wall without so much angst. Time to start eating my Wheaties and doing push-ups.


At 8/15/2007 1:53 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

What an incredible summer you've had! I got a little trembly just thinking about your wall-climbing experience.

You go, girl!

At 8/15/2007 3:27 PM, Blogger ERiCA said...

Wow, what a great picture!!

I'm so jealous of the rappelling thing--I've been dying (dying, I tell you!) to do that for sooo long now.

(Although I admit--the getting stuck part doesn't sound too fun.)

At 8/15/2007 6:50 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I will break my own leg to avoid having to go to girls camp.

Or on Trek.

I am a wimp.


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