AirHop And The Reimagined Picture Of Sport

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After going to AirHop, Antonia reflects on her attitude towards sport and fitness and the huge role her experiences at school still plays in it.

I was more of a dancer growing up.

When I think back to PE lessons in school, I look back with mixed emotions – fond memories of trampolining, or going to the track in Mile End or watching the boys play basketball after school, competing with rival schools like Sir John Cass (who were always trying to start some beef with us because they always came out defeated).

When our editor told us we have to do a sports piece, I was apprehensive because sport has never really been my ‘thing’. Don’t get me wrong, I loved taking part but I never competed on a serious level outside of school, I was more of a dancer growing up. When the opportunity came up to go to AirHop I was so excited; it brought back fond memories of the PE lessons I really enjoyed – the ones that meant I could push myself and get active and trying new things without the pressure of having to be the best (because I wasn’t). I didn’t have it as bad as some of my peers, who would ‘forget’ their PE kits on a regular basis, only to get put on blast by militant teachers, then having to dig into stale ‘lost and found’ items. Or the ones who weren’t up for it because of period pains, and were told, ‘If you don’t have a doctor’s note, you don’t have an excuse’. Or the people who felt self-conscious in the changing rooms so lingered in the playground after break-time so they could miss the changing room politics but get scolded for being late. There are a whole host of good and bad incidents of PE lessons in school that stick with people and sometimes shape the way people perceive fitness for the rest of their lives.

Depending on which school you go to, you could be missing out on an experience of PE that is more suited to you…

Grace told me that out of all the parts of PE in school, she enjoyed athletics the most – because she was good at it. But there were also bits that she didn’t enjoy. She’s a sprinter but sometimes long distance cross country runs were enforced, so there are bits you can’t choose. Some can’t choose at all. Depending on which school you go to, you could be missing out on an experience of PE that is more suited to you, but because of your bad experience at your school, you write it off. It’s no secret that state schools have been drawing the short straw since day dot. I didn’t even know Polo was more than just a mint until I was sixteen. Cai, like me, enjoyed it most when more emphasis was put in the element of fun and taking part, because nobody really likes to lose.

We went to Airhop. On a work trip. Can you believe? Below is what happened next.

I tried going to the gym for a bit but decided it wasn’t for me because I’m not training for a marathon, plus it’s boring going through the motions on a treadmill watching trashy music videos on screens. But another thing to note, is that having fun while getting active isn’t a special phenomenon that is reserved for school-goers. AirHop isn’t just for kids, (although I accept in this video it looks like we’re the big kids who crashed the party, but it was half term init) it’s for everyone. And it’s a fun accessible way to get active with no competition (maybe just a bit) but more importantly, no judgment.

If you want more support and coaching for sport and physical activity, get in touch with Sport 4 Life Bristol via the Rife Guide. Share your experiences of AirHop with us on Twitter @Rifemag

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