My team and I goofing around in the obstacle course

With a Little Help From My Friends

Last week I did something pretty far out of my comfort zone, and discovered something delightful in the process. At first glance it seems like it’s got nothing to do with sewing or making, but stick with me for a moment…

I’m a *somewhat* athletic person, but I don’t like to go to gyms or work out in the traditional sense. I keep in passable shape by playing volleyball every week and riding my bike in the summer. I joined a new volleyball team back in January and hooked up with five new teammates that I hadn’t met before. They are all very athletic and super-fit; I think volleyball for them is what they do on their days off from more serious workouts. You know that joke about what do you call someone who hangs around with a bunch of musicians? (The drummer.) Well, on this volleyball team I’m the person who hangs around with a bunch of very fit athletes. (The mascot, maybe?) 😛

My team and I goofing around in the obstacle course
My team and I goofing around in the obstacle course

We all hit it off even though we’d never met before — these folks are great people! — and we’ve become friends, doing things together outside of volleyball like going out dancing. Last week one of my teammates suggested we all try out this new gym which has a big obstacle course and other challenging things like rope climbing, slack lines, and a couple of giant sloped walls you have to take a run at and see if you can haul yourself up to the top. And I was all like:

260

A million reasons Why Not went through my head, not the least of which was that I was likely going to die or break a leg or at the very least humiliate myself. Also I wouldn’t be able to knit while doing this particular activity, so, like, pffft. But I ended up going anyway, caving into the peer pressure…such a terrible influence these people are, just wanting to do awful healthy things that are fun and keep them in shape! Sheesh. Whatever happened to just getting drunk in the park while eating 3 bags of Doritos and then setting fire to neighbourhood garbage cans?? 😉

When I arrived I had that same feeling of dread I used to get in grade 7 gym class. My volleyball mates were all stoked, while I was wondering why the hell I agreed to this.

They say a dose of humility is good for you, and I got a good one taking a run up that giant wall and missing the top ledge. The face plant is bad enough but then you have to endure the looong slide to the bottom, also on your face. lol. Cartoonish music along the lines of ‘wah wah waaaah’ automatically goes through your head. (Here’s a link with a picture of the wall in question so you can picture what I mean.)

Despite lacking the upper body strength required to get through some of the sections of the obstacle course — I found I started to enjoy myself. I made my way through the course slowly but surely with my friends cheering me on and giving me various boosts and pushes as needed. These folks could easily have been disdainful of my inferior fitness level but they weren’t, and I was grateful.

At one point I faced a steeply-sloped wall that I had to get over by hauling myself up a rope. I pulled as hard as I could, straining with every ounce of strength I had (so, like, not much) and *almost* made it to the top. I didn’t have the strength for the last push, despite my friends shouting at me from the top that I could do it. Just as I was about to let go of the rope, my friends reached down and grabbed my arms, and I found myself being hauled up onto the platform.

I had a significant moment just then. Getting pulled up by my friends was a treat both physically and emotionally. I realized what a great feeling it is to know that you can do things you didn’t think you could do with friends to support and help you. And how great it is to have those friends. I felt like I had accomplished something but more importantly I was reminded how crucial a great support network is, and how lucky I am that I have several of them, in many aspects of my life.

The reason I tell you this long story is because the next day I had a look at your comments on my last post Is There a Pill for This?? in which I was moaning about having sewing block. Honestly, I got a similar feeling reading your suggestions, your expressions of commiseration, and your best wishes for getting over the hump (or over the wall, as the case may be). What a privilege and pleasure it is to have a network of generous people willing to take the time to wish me well. And while sewing block isn’t, of course, the worst thing that could happen to someone by a very long shot, your supportive comments mean a lot to me, my dear sewing friends! You’ve given me just the hand up I needed. (But I still know better than to promise that I’m going to finish sewing something anytime soon! 😉 )

Alright, this post is starting to sound like one of those awful inspirational posters that make me want to poke my own cynical eyes out, so I’ll stop. But seriously, I appreciate that you take time to read this blog and I am very grateful to have you as a support network. And here’s an inspirational poster that’s more my speed, and seems pretty relevant to me and my sewing hobby. Can you relate? 😀

Ineptitude: if you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly

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7 thoughts on “With a Little Help From My Friends

  1. I so enjoyed this post and the image of you being hauled over an obstacle by friends. I just finished re-reading Charlotte’s Web to my daughters, and this passage really struck me (Charlotte’s response when Wilbur asks her why she helped him): “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

    Liked by 1 person

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