Getting our bounce on at Urban Air

06/16/2014 10:53 PM

06/16/2014 10:54 PM

We jumped, we bounced, we ran, we dove and we quickly realized that we aren’t as young as we used to be.

Intrepid reporter Coleen Daniell and I have undertaken the task of not just reporting on Mansfield, but also experiencing some of the more exciting places in town in a new series we call “Let’s Try It.” We will visit some of the more entertaining sites in the city, and use our reporting skills to do things that our readers might be a little leery about trying.

Our first mission: Urban Air Trampoline Park, an indoor party place frequented mostly by ages 3 to 21, not middle-aged moms -- except those dropping off, picking up or watching over their youngsters. We were undaunted.

We checked in, signed our waivers and paid the fee to jump for an hour ($12 hour for ages 6-up, $20 for two hours). We were immediately impressed that the place seemed a lot bigger than it did from the outside, tucked in next to the Big Lots store, and that it was open, airy and that there was a large seating area with about a dozen picnic tables for parties or parents to hang out. Not for us, we were going in!

We were intrepid. We had on our stretchy pants and we were ready to fly. We fearlessly climbed onto the platform that takes up at least half of the building and checked out where we would get our bounce on.

To be fair, I had a ringer. Coleen was a University of Arizona cheerleader who had actually taken a class in tumbling and trampoline in college. She had fearlessly climbed onto people’s shoulders for years and jumped off. A little trampoline wasn’t going to slow her down.

On the platform, the area was divided into different zones -- one spot for preschool jumpers, a slam-dunk area with basketball hoops and trampolines, the Apex with dozens of individual trampolines divided by foamy orange bumpers, two dodgeball areas, a runway for people with serious skills and the foam pit.

We decided to start with the basics, the Apex, where we could get our rhythm. We parked our purses (They have cubbies for shoes, but nothing for purses. Guess they don’t get a lot of those.) and waddled in.

First thing we noticed was that the trampolines aren’t just on the floor, they’re also slanted on the sides of the walls. We had to try that! But we decided to pace ourselves, and get our trampoline legs. Coleen immediately got air, jumping five feet up. Me, not so much. We both reached our maximum heart rate in about two minutes, started to sweat and realized that our bladders had also aged. Hmm.

Time to try the walls. I bounded off the side and flew through the air, landing on my butt about six feet away. Coleen ran up the side and then flew about a dozen feet back and just kept going. We both started to look for the lying down area for older jumpers.

Time to try dodgeball! We divided up into two teams, me, one other mom and about a dozen girls against the most vicious-looking middle-school pack of boys you have ever seen. I was an immediate target. I dove, I wove, I danced and evaded. I was the first one out.

On to the foam pit, Coleen sprang into action, flying off the in-the-floor trampoline and hurling into a huge pit of blue foam squares. She looked pretty happy, but did recommend that Urban Air add a giant claw to scoop out mature jumpers. My turn. I bounced, I eyed the pit. I bounced some more. I jumped to the big bumper and then dove in. And stuck. I was literally wedged in by fat blue blocks of foam.

“Try to touch the bottom!” Coleen yelled as she bent over laughing.

What bottom? There’s no bottom! I managed to push myself off the foam chunks, throw an arm over the bumper and pull myself out onto the trampoline, where I laid like a dead fish. Coleen kept taking my picture and a 4-year-old looked at me like he was worried I was dead and he wasn’t going to get to jump.

We were just about done. I was gasping after my near-death experience in the foam pit and Coleen’s knees were hurting. We decided to try the slam dunk area and call it a day. First, we had to wedge ourselves into line with a bunch of teenage boys who couldn’t seem to understand that we might actually want to shoot the basketball and not just watch. After a few rounds of them passing us by, I finally said “Hey, let the old ladies try it!”

We decided not to test our luck, but take on the lowest basket. Coleen immediately shot and (very embarrassed) just missed the hoop. No problem, this was my area. I played basketball for years. I grabbed the ball, bounced, got some serious air and shot the ball straight over the backboard. And we were done.

We sat down for awhile to assess our experience (and get our breath back) and decided we really like Urban Air. If our kids were younger, we would love to bring them here and let them burn off some energy. The place is bright, clean and there is a staff member in every area to make sure people are safe.

Urban Air does have fitness classes for grown-ups, but we decided we wanted the full experience. Once we heal up, we might actually try one.

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