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My heart raced. My palms began to sweat. I nervously whipped my head left and right. Exhaling slowly, I began to propel myself forward with long, high jumps. Tightening my body into a tuck position, I flipped through the air and landed with a squeal face first into a pit of plush, electric blue foam squares.
The foam pit is just one of the four areas I got to bounce around in at the new SkyZone Sports complex on Quivera Road in Shawnee. I found that it combined both exercise, and entertainment perfectly. Although I left feeling like my legs were made of Jell-O, I had a great time getting an amazing workout, without even realizing it.
Not quite sure what to expect, I entered the indoor trampoline park. The plain exterior revealed nothing. As I walked through the doors, Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” blared from surround-sound speakers. Helpful employees in bulky blue shoes and bright orange shirts assisted me. I was given a pair of blue bouncing shoes for myself and laced them up tightly.
I headed first towards the expanse of orange paneled trampolines covering an entire side of the complex. Black trampolines not only made up the entire floor, but the walls enclosing the area as well. I bounded off the walls, trying to recreate those perfect “High School Musical Jumps” and my best “Bring It On” toe touches. I was weightless as I went hand-springing across the floor and struck poses in the air. It wasn’t long until I was sweating and panting. I had a date with the water fountain before I could move on to the basketball courts.
After a short break, I tied my hair back into a ponytail, and put on my game face. I could practically hear Aaron Carter’s boy-band voice in my head vocalizing his 90’s pop hit “That’s How I Beat Shaq” as I threw myself into the air. With outstretched arms, I dunked the plush, red ball through the hoop in one fluid movement. That was a first. After discovering my 5 ft tall body could not even reach the net on the other two higher goals, I moved on to the next area: the foam pit.
Childhood memories of the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit filled my head as I stood on the trampoline platform facing the foam pit. I hesitated before jumping in, while pondering what might lie below the foam surface. But this was no Chuck-E-Cheese. In fact, orange clad employees had been rotating around all day spraying the trampolines and surrounding areas with disinfectant. Comforted by the thought, I began to lightly build up my jumps, getting higher and higher with each bounce, before catapulting myself into the sea of blue cubes.
I landed face first, then began my struggle back to the platform. I flailed my way through the ocean of cubes, desperately clawing for the platform. In a moment of panic, I wondered if I would be stuck here, pulled into the deep abyss of fluffy blue squares. Luckily I grasped the orange platform like a flotation device and pulled myself up. I lay motionless regaining my strength and taking deep breaths before I could move on to the final attraction.
Recovering from my ball pit trauma, I could feel the stiffening ache in my thighs and calves as I stumbled across the unfamiliar linoleum floor, my heavy feet felt like I was sloshing through water, not used to non-springy surface. I was sweating profusely at this point. I waited for the desperate fatigue that usually spread through me after an intense workout, but all I felt was excitement. I looked towards the next area of my adventure, the dodgeball arena.
I eyed my competitors with unabashed scrutiny. Sure, the kid was 11 years old, but you should have seen the force he used to throw that red ball at me. Memories flashed before my eyes. A fluorescently lit gymnasium, the shrieks of adolescent boys, the green plush ball headed right towards my face. Sixth grade gym class was a nightmare, and I had been thrown back into it. I fought for my life, my hair whipped around me in a blur, and the protective goggles I had been given fell limply around my neck. The little devil took advantage of my momentary distraction as I bent down to tie my shoe. I was hit squarely on my back, surrendering as I stumbled off the court.
Lounging on a bright orange, plastic couch, I tried to even my breathing. I re-hydrated furiously. I was seriously surprised at how much of a workout I had gotten without even realizing it. My sore legs protested as I headed for the exit. The cool November air was a refreshing breeze against my blushed face. During the ride home I reflected on my afternoon, while massaging my stiff muscles.
Sky Zone sports left me pleasantly surprised with its variety of activities and energetic atmosphere of pumped up tunes targeting people of all ages to embark on a fun and fitness oriented experience. I knew I would return soon, this time with a group of friends, ready to conquer the dodgeball court, foam pit and all the other attractions once again.