We bought Ethan a trampoline for his ninth birthday, and two Saturdays ago – with considerable help from Brad Tindall and David Westbrooks – we put it together.
Now, it’s been a hit with everyone at the Capps’ household. Ethan likes it, and Shanna has even bounced on it a few times as well.
Me? I love it.
I grew up playing on trampolines. The main one was a rectangular one at my grandparents’ house.
It was red with paint and rust, and completely lacking in the safety features (read: padding and net) that you see with all of today’s newer models.
Yes, I fell off of it more than once.
Yes, I landed between the springs and the bar more than once.
And one day before baseball practice, I landed on the pole in a place no young man wants to.
Anyway, by the time I reached my driving years – thus rendering me too old to spend weekends at my grandparents’ house – I was quite an accomplished jumper.
My best trick was the front flip, where I would jump and, well, flip while sticking the landing.
Well, since we got the trampoline, I’ve been reliving my past.
I decided early on that I wanted to do the flip again.
Now, I’ve aged about 20 years and put on about 70 pounds since those days. So it was slow going at first.
First, I had to work up the courage to actually flip. The mature mind ponders the dangers involved – things like landing on my head – while jumping, which is not the mind frame you need to be in.
So, finally I leave my feet.
It didn’t take long to realize that, while I wasn’t going to land on my head, I wasn’t going to be landing on my feet, either.
So, lying there on my back, I congratulated myself on not dying and made mental notes on how to improve the attempt next time.
A few days pass, and all of a sudden it’s yesterday afternoon.
At halftime of the Clemson/Miami game, I decided to go out and make an attempt.
Ethan decided to tag along and watch.
I had been thinking that, if I just tucked my knees in a little, maybe I could generate the torque needed to get my feet back on the ground after a flip.
That bit of physics, and my giggling son watching me, inspired me.
I took a bounce. Then another. Then, an even bigger one.
Finally, I started the flip.
I tucked my knees in a little and felt my feet coming around.
The world was a blur of black, green and white (safety net, pine trees and sky, if you’re wondering) as I stuck my feet down, hoping to find the floor of the trampoline.
Then, it happened.
My socked feet stopped moving, landing square in the middle of the trampoline.
I let out a yell and fell to my knees, arms raised to the sky.
Ethan cheered wildly. I think he may have actually been impressed.
We made so much racket that Shanna ran outside to see what the fuss was about.
I told her I did a flip.
She asked for another one.
Feeling supremely confident, I stood up, took a few bounces and pulled off another flip.
She might have actually been impressed, too.
I think about getting older sometimes. Or every time I look into a mirror and see where my hair used to be.
Or when I realize that my little boy is halfway to adulthood.
But for one afternoon, I gave Father Time a stiff arm.
I did two flips.
And my knees only hurt a little…