Thursday. Gym day? I hadn't been to the last several classes. Either I was busy or was hesitant to go because the classes were really focused on absolute beginners. The time that was valuable to me was the time after when I could use it as an open gym and work on slightly more complicated tricks. Oh. Yeah. Maybe I could just ask Cliff if I could come after class. Even just an hour or so of that time would be useful. However, when I talked to him he told me the cleaning crew had made complaints behind their backs about them staying late, even when Cliff had said all they needed to do was tell them when they needed to get out. So they had been taking off pretty quickly after class, and he had no idea how much time we'd happen to have tonight to train. Of course I was welcome to come, if it was worth the drive to me. Reluctantly I said I'd think about it. It was little over a half hour drive there, and I'd have to be prepared to only have 20 minutes there before we got kicked out and I'd have to drive back. It sucked, I'd really been craving some gym time...
Eight and half hours later I still wanted to go, so I thought 'screw it' and was prepared to be content with no gym time at all - I'd simply enjoy an hour night ride in my car speeding along the highways with my windows down, wind whipping, and Viking Metal blasting out the speakers to the cold crescent moon.
Guys were putting away the blocks. Crap. My stomach sank but I decided to keep going in anyway. King was wrestling with Devon on the spring floor and Andrew was tricking over by the foam pit. Cliff and SB were putting things away. "Haley!" Andrew yelled as he noticed me walk in. He and King came over to hug me, and I went and asked Cliff if I could do anything at all. "The cleaning crew just got here before you, go! Go go go go go." Quickly I set up some blocks for a dash kong combo. That was one I really wanted to try out and was most important on my gym list. It wasn't long before all of them were giving me advice and correcting me on what I needed to do. King also had me do a dash reverse, which did feel a lot smoother, but I wanted to be able to do the dash kong well. Eventually they had me just focus on my kong, whose run up they all agreed sucked :/ SB worked with me on it the most, and I was happy because he was able to do it without all the banter and teasing the others seemed unable to quit giving me :P It was challenging though, the block was a lot above waist height and even with the spring floor I was having trouble. I also kashed a lot. It frustrated the hell out of me because of course I desperately wanted to 'just do it right' like the were yelling at me, but it wasn't happening. Finally Cliff laid out a couple of mats that gave me a runway that was a few inches higher. That instantly helped. Finally I could work on the technique without kashing too much, and that built a lot of confidence when I could feel myself doing the motions correctly. King slept while the other three continued to watch me and give me advice or approval (Devon had long ago left to hang out with some of her friends).
When I came back from getting water, Cliff was pulling away the mats. I assumed he was cleaning up, it was past 11. "No. Go, jump it," he told me. I looked past him incredulously at the blocks. "It's too high," I mumbled. "You can do it. You've got it." What took me was that the note in his voice wasn't one of encouragement, it was one of knowledge. He was sure I could do it not because he believed in me, but because he had seen the ability. That was what made me believe him.
He was right. I got it a few times after several tries, but then they agreed my jump needed work. They had me switch to speed vaults, which I was surprised at because it was 11:30. They'd been working with me for two hours now; I thought we were supposed to be lucky to stay until half after ten. They asked me why I was pushing two blocks together and I explained it was so I could tap the block with my foot. They let it go without much ridicule, for which I was relieved. I can't deal with having to defend myself and trying to focus on my work. In fact they had cooled off a lot in the past hour, which I reallllly appreciated. I love them but I don't always know how to handle what they say, and that really distracts me. When I finally got a good speed in they clapped and yelled praises. That made me feel spectacular, all that honest cheering, that they were that excited I did it :] The time they had spent on me.... it meant a lot. When we left it was half past midnight.
I also truly appreciated how much Cliff had stuck his neck out regarding the janitors. I don't think they ever came in to clean the big room, and I hope that doesn't come back to bite him :(
Canters as usual was our late night retreat. We talked and joked until Andrew looked down at his watch and said, "Whoooa, how'd that happen?.." I checked mine too, it was 2:41. After a bit we broke up at 3am and drove home.
I couldn't believe I almost hadn't come tonight.