Four months ago I wrote a post about feeling like a kid again, entitled Bitten by a Radioactive Spider. It was about how I stumbled onto the “Traveling Rings” at Santa Monica Beach, and how the many athletic feats performed there on a daily basis by everyday people filled me with excitement and awe.
To me, it’s a very encouraging sign that I can still be captivated by new things and develop new interests, hobbies, and even passions well into adulthood – that this experience is not exclusively the domain of the young. (After all, in geologic time, we’re all young, right?)
Still, one of the advantages that kids generally have over “grown-ups” is they tend to have a much higher tolerance for being a beginner at something. And, of course, if you’re not willing to try something new – and to be terrible at it initially – then the possibility of getting good, or even just enjoying it, completely disappears.
For whatever reason, I was so intrigued with what I saw people doing on the rings that it infected me with the desire to do it, too. And I was perfectly okay with being a clumsy beginner.
Fortunately for me, there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie down at the original home of “Muscle Beach” – it’s an incredibly positive atmosphere where people stretch themselves (both literally and figuratively), welcome and encourage newbies, freely share what they know, and are in it (from what I’ve seen) just for the sheer joy of it. People connect over a shared love of physical challenge, regardless of their skill level, and they help each other out instinctively.
Imagine if the whole world operated that way.
The other point worth noting is that the rings are FUN! Remember playing outside and making friends with whoever else was out there playing, too? It’s like that, except – at age 42 – I don’t have to go back inside at my mom’s beck and call.
I’ve got a long way to go on the rings: much still to learn, and much fun still to have. But I’ve made a lot of progress since my first go at it. My childhood dream of being like Spider-Man just may come true, after all…
(The below video was recorded this morning by my devoted wife and videographer, Samantha):