A Blue From New?

In the midst of Varsity season, Tab Sport wonders whether it’s possible to get a blue from scratch. We follow HILARY SAMUELS in her quest for sporting excellence.

Blue cambridge university trampolining hilary samuels novice blue trampolining

Starting a new sport is always slightly nerve-wracking, but even more so when you haven’t done any sport for several months due to having a broken foot (side-note – going clubbing on crutches in Freshers’ Week turned out to be less horrendous than you might think). I decided to try trampolining this term, having never got past doing a back-flip in gymnastics when I was about 12, and although slightly terrifying at times, I can’t recommend the experience more!

First off, to get this out of the way, the people have all been absolutely lovely. I know it sounds a bit cringe-y, but they genuinely are so friendly and helpful.

Hilary in action on the trampoline. Pretty much says it all…

Right, now onto the actual activity. One of the most difficult things I found with starting was the feeling of being slightly useless in setting up. Setting up a trampoline really isn’t all that difficult, but there are a lot of steps involved, and for the first couple of weeks I did a lot of standing around hopefully, putting out mats. That being said, the first time you put one up there is an undeniably sense of power (I am aware this makes me sound slightly unhinged).

Trampolining itself is a fantastic sport – having never done it at all before, I am now able to do a front somersault unsupported; I would literally have laughed in your face had you told me I would be doing that halfway through my first term. I also found it was a great workout for my whole body, which was something I wasn’t expecting. Obviously I knew my legs would ache, but I wasn’t expecting the back too. You soon bounce back after the first few weeks!

One of the best parts of my experience was facing my fears. While some people have fears of heights (which I have) and others of cockroaches (which I have), I have discovered I also have a fear of falling. Logically, there is no way you can fall; the coaches are extremely well-trained and would never let you hurt yourself, but despite telling myself this, it literally took twelve attempts to get me to even try to do a front somersault by myself. On the other hand, you’re never alone in your fears; each session there are guaranteed to be profanities and considerable amounts of slightly hysterical laughter as a coach suggests someone try something new (particularly when it involves going backwards: apparently human nature doesn’t let us throw ourselves backwards without some swearing…).

She is NOT about to break her back (depsite what the picture suggests)

Finally, one of my favourite parts about trying this new sport has been the social side of it – meeting people who I would otherwise never have come across and making amazing friends. Plus, on Tuesdays we go to a bar and get free chips – as a self-confessed chip-a-holic (no joke, my family made up a song about how much I like chips) this is, of course, flipping fantastic.

I can’t recommend trying a new sport enough. I’m normally one to stick to sports like swimming and running, but the experience of trampolining has truly been a huge amount of fun. I urge you all (well maybe not all, we only have four trampolines) to jump up off the sofa and come along to a taster session to see what it’s all about, or just to get out there and try a sport you always wish you’d learnt when you were younger – I know people who’ve started lacrosse and korfball at uni, and I have yet to find anyone who’s ever regretted it.