This is my first blog post to the Hub-Blog. In fact, I have never blogged before and so I have been a bit unsure of what to even say. My first inclination was to write about the movie, Over the Top (1987), which stars Sylvester Stallone as a long-haul truck driver on a cross-country road trip to re-unite with his estranged son and win the world arm wrestling championship in Vegas. I have been thinking a lot about this movie lately because I thought my life was a bit like it. The only difference being that I don’t have any children and am not very good at arm wrestling. In retrospect, I suppose the only similarity was that I drove a truck for a day. It was a 16-footer. I drove it from Massachusetts to South Carolina last week with all of my stuff in it.
Anyways, instead of just writing about how great of a movie Over the Top is or how I moved my belongings from Massachusetts to South Carolina, I thought I would share a little story of how I recently earned the nickname, ‘Criss-Cross Apple Sauce’.
As you may have read in an earlier post by Mark, a couple of us went tubing on the Green River a few weeks ago. It was pretty awesome. A highlight of this river adventure for me were the various rope swings, which hung from trees in the deeper bends of the river.
As we made our way downstream, we approached the best of these rope swing trees, however, it was aleady inhabited by a number of kids, ranging in age from 12 to 18. They climbed the tree with the grace of howler monkeys and would swing from the ropes with equal finesse. I remember thinking to myself that they probably could be in the Olympics if given the training on one of those really high diving boards or if the rope swing ever becomes a medal event. What made this even more impressive to me was that they by no means looked to be in top physical shape. I’m not meaning this as a slight, but they were the kind of people who wear t-shirts to the swimming pool. (Please don’t be offended if you wear a t-shirt with your bathing suit, I think it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I’m just trying to give the reader an accurate picture of this experience).
Anyways, they were doing all kinds of back flips with twists and turns resulting in tiny little splashes. I think one of the kids did two flips. At one point he climbed to the very top branch of the tree, stood there for like five seconds with his eyes closed, and did a perfect back-flip into the water below. It was like the height of two high-diving boards. It seemed really sketchy, but was still pretty cool.
So naturally, I had to give this rope swing a shot. I’ve been on a couple of rope-swings in my day, but never really attempted anything like a back-flip. Mostly I’ll just do a ‘cannon ball’ or something conservative like that. Every once in a while, if the water is deep enough, I might do a ‘pencil’. This time though, I felt the need to do something a bit more bold. I wanted to show these guys that, ‘hey, I’m kind of cool’. So my plan was to do a 360 degree turn.
As I gripped the rope in my hands I felt good. I thought to myself, “I got this.” The rope-swing kids were all sizing me up with eyes of rope-swing judgement. I took a deep breath and launched from the highest root I could. This is when I blew their minds….
Well, I think what happened is that I just held on to the rope for a bit too long. When I went to do my cool turn, it just didn’t have the momentum behind it. Instead, I just kind of scrambled with my legs and hands going in every direction at a frantic pace. Mid-way through, I decided I could save this jump with a solid ‘cannon ball’. Well, for some reason, I instead just crossed my legs in the ‘Indian-style’ sitting position and hit the water. I admit it was kind of weird.
While under the surface of the Green River, Mark stood onshore next to the rope-swing kids. Supposedly, they looked at each other in a confused state. One kid then asked aloud, “What was that?” The other responded, “I don’t know…I think it was criss-cross apple sauce?”