Sort of. Ever since I got to college, I’ve been telling myself that I would get back into the gym because I want to see what kinds of skills and tricks I can still do. Honestly, as I sit here writing this, I cannot believe that it’s been six years since the end of my gymnastics career. I never could have dreamed of the path that all those long hours (24 per week from ages 8-14), broken bones, ripped hands, smelly car rides, and wonderful friendships would set me on.
Alas, life kept getting in the way, so I never donned my grips or laced up my ankle brace to see if I could still wow my friends with a couple giants on the uneven bars or a full-and-a-half punch front on floor. That is, until I made it to Munich. In a fortuitous series of events, I ended up at a parkour park at the Olympic Park. You see, my plan that day was simple: visit Dachau Concentration Camp, hit the BMW Museum, pay my €3 to see the Olympic Stadium, and get the heck home to rest my tired, sweaty, and emotionally drained body. Except when I stumbled into the Olympic Park, I found myself in the middle of the Munich MASH BMX Event.
As I started wandering the stalls, I thought to myself, “Now this is what solo travel is all about. To heck with my plan for the day. Forget about my writing obligations. They’ll still be there in three hours. I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and stroll around to see what comes across my path.” It was then that I spotted a kid flipping through the air, clearly bouncing on a trampoline. I made a beeline for the area and realized that the trampoline was part of a temporary parkour park that had been set up for the event. There was a mini Ninja Warrior course, trampolines, and airtrack tumbling floors – and the best part? It was totally free and open to the public!
Now, you all should know that I totally was not dressed for an afternoon tumbling around in the sun. I was wearing a cute little tank tucked into shorts that zipped up the back. In other words, clothes that were very much not stretchy. Not wanting to let life pass me by though, I simply untucked my shirt, threw my hair into a ponytail, and figured I’d deal with a broken zipper or ripped shorts if it came to it (luckily, it never did). Like any responsible collegiate athlete, I started out cautiously. A round-off layout here to get a feeling for the airtrack. Okay, now add a full twist there. Let’s see if I’ve got 1.5 twists in me…yep, just a little more power and now I’ve got it on my feet. Time to full send (shout out to Esther!). I added a flip…and landed on my butt. Again. And again. And again.
Well, I guess you can’t expect a miracle after six years. I played around for another half hour, incorporating some other tumbling tricks and having a complete blast. Was I sunburned? Yep. Sweating? Definitely. Happy? More than I had been in weeks. Flipping through the air, I realized how much I’ve missed diving, my teammates, and the simple feeling of accomplishment that you get after a good workout. Without a doubt, the little parkour park at the MASH BMX Event makes the top of my Munich highlight reel. After all, it was where I found out that after six years, I still had it. Sort of.
Healthy base tan, courtesy of the unyielding sun in Megan’s hometown in southwest Florida? Check. An insistence that gallivanting through Germany and Austria all summer does, in fact, count as exercise – after all, those cathedral steps aren’t going to climb themselves! Definitely. A command of the native languages and the confidence that one mere backpack will get her through two months abroad? Now slow down there, she didn’t say she was Wonder Woman. While neuroscience and chemistry may be this coffee-loving, beach-bumming, fashion-adoring springboard diver’s forte, Megan is hoping to expand her appreciation for the finer things in life (beer, currywurst, schnitzel, melange…) before returning to the reality that all good things must come to an end, as evidenced by her impending senior year.