My First Time
By Krisan Christensen
I watch Ryan fly horizontally through the air, push his hands off the crest of the four-foot wall in front of him, tuck his legs between his arms, and land on the other side midstride. I stare in awe until I realize he wants us to try the very same thing. How dare my 5-foot-4-inch frame even ask my feet to get that far off the ground—let alone weave through my arms to the other side. All that can come of this is my shins crashing into the wall, my knees pushing my hands from their place, and me plummeting into a royal face-plant. But when Ryan breaks it down step-by-step, it takes only a few tries at each progression before I am sailing over the top of the wall safely planting my feet on the ground.
It has been like this for every skill Ryan has taught us in our eight sessions with Colorado Parkour. I watch him give the example with ease, I go through a little self-doubt when it is my turn, I give it a try, and I am amazed and thrilled that I was able to tick-tack up the stairwell, cat-leap over a railing, and muscleup a wall on the other side. In the end all I did were a combination of small moves we had been practicing throughout the course.
I have always considered myself an athlete, participating in soccer, ultimate Frisbee, softball, skiing, snowboarding, and climbing, but the mental gymnastics of parkour almost outweigh the physical. Unlike kicking a soccer ball or throwing a softball, parkour moves seem impossible. I appear to defy gravity, but I’m not. I’m learning to work with it. Three weeks after our parkour classes end, I’m still smiling. I’m hanging out at a gym with a few friends. I eye the wall, run at it, bounce upward off of it, and grab the standard-height basketball goal brackets. I shimmy across and then drop to the ground. I can’t say what practical application this move might have except that it’s a blast. Perhaps that is more than enough.