Johnson City Press: Press staff writer not normally one to just jump, but he did on Labor Day

Press staff writer not normally one to just jump, but he did on Labor Day

David Floyd • Updated Sep 8, 2015 at 10:04 AM

Editor’s note: Staff writer David Floyd, who denies any interest in adventure, relented on Labor Day and joined friends for a bounce on the wild side ...

I’m not the most adventurous person in the world, so when one of my friends made a Facebook post early last week asking if anyone wanted to go to Just Jump, a trampoline park on Silverdale Drive in Johnson City, I was cautious.

“I’m too old for that stuff,” cynical David said, sitting in front of his computer drinking apple juice from a purple mug. “Besides, we’d probably be the only college students in that place.”

My college life has been largely defined by my distaste for adventure.

Should I go out clubbing with friends, or should I spend an evening making unique sandwiches out of random pieces of food I scavenged from the fridge?

Full disclosure: The inside of my refrigerator is a sad, barren wasteland that currently holds shrimp sauce, white bread, a jar of pickles, a half-eaten bowl of soup and a bar of chocolate. With the exception of the shrimp sauce, all those items belong to my roommate.

Do I spend my free time nourishing my mind with thoughtful conversation, or should I take a nice, lengthy nap and dream about a better world in which everyone’s just too tired and sleepy to worry about their problems?

The point? I wasn’t going into this with an absolutely open mind, but jumping in a building where the floor is made out of trampolines sounded like a childhood dream come true, so I bit my tongue and accepted the invitation.

When I entered Just Jump Monday, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. 

First-timers like myself are asked to sign a waiver before jumping, ensuring that the business isn’t liable for any injury that occurs on the premises. After the form is submitted, visitors pay for a pair of clingy socks and an hour of time in the jump area. They are also given colored wrist-bands that denote the time period for which they paid to jump.

Individuals were funneling into different sections when we walked into the jump area. In one, a group of boys were playing dodgeball on a series of trampolines, and in another, small children jumped several feet into the air to perform superhuman dunks on a couple basketball hoops.

In the back, trampolines were embedded into the ground and walls, enabling people to jump across the surface of the floor. A couple guys corkscrewed their way across the room, performing front flips, back flips, side flips and ruining any chance of me coming out of this looking semi-athletic. 

“It takes some practice,” said my friend, casually performing an impressive back flip while I bounced in the same spot hoping God would pluck me from the air and place me gently into my bed. 

Eventually, my goal became clear: before the end of the day, I was determined to perform a decent front flip. It didn’t have to be excellent, I just had to land on my feet.

Initially, my approach was all off. I lilted haphazardly to the right or left, horrified that I would land on my neck and die in the middle of a room full of happy families enjoying their Labor Day vacation.

After a series of failed attempts — several in which I rag-dolled helplessly into another person or a wall — I managed to land haphazardly on my feet ... before slipping onto my face.

My resolve was almost broken, but after another couple more near-death experiences, I plummeted violently out of the air into a crouching position with my feet planted on the ground.

“Heyo!” I said, reaching my hands up into the air, expecting the world to proclaim me Pharaoh and build a statue in my likeness.

“Wait, do it again. I didn’t see it,” said my friends. 

When a woman came on the intercom to tell us that our time was up, I realized that my experience had been pretty enjoyable. My kneecaps hadn’t exploded from jouncing them into the ground too hard, and I wasn’t the least-coordinated person in the building.

Honestly, it’s very likely that I’ll end up going back. And next time, I’m going to try to complete a back flip ... if I don’t break my neck in the process.

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