I Just Had to Learn to Move Like That: Guest Post by Myra YankePosted | 5 comments
Shortly after being the only member of my Tough Mudder team to fall off a narrow wood bridge, I watched a video of Erwan Le Corre lope through a forest and leap gracefully onto awkward surfaces. I just had to learn to move like that. So when I saw a one-day MovNat workshop advertised close to me, I wanted to register immediately.
There was just one snag: I was born profoundly deaf, and I use American Sign Language. Communicating via pen and paper, as I often do with hearing people, would not be practical for this workshop.
Lip-reading, extremely difficult under the tamest circumstances, would be impossible with the instructor moving about outdoors in active demonstrations. “Just ASK them,” I told myself.
I e-mailed MovNat telling them of my interest and my concerns. I explained that no, I wouldn’t be able to bring a friend who signs and no, lip-reading wouldn’t be feasible, so – now what?
Much to my delight, I received an enthusiastic response from Kellen with a plan to support my participation. Any doubts I had about whether I’d be welcome or if I’d get anything out of the experience were instantly allayed.
Kellen e-mailed basic information on the concepts and skills that he would cover. I brought a printout to the workshop as a reference and watched Kellen demonstrate the skills. Kellen also sketched out diagrams and concepts on a whiteboard during the workshop. On the rare occasions I became confused, Kellen was quick to notice the look on my face and to write out an explanation on the whiteboard. At no time did he try to make me lip-read, and I appreciated that.
Balance was one thing I really wanted to improve. I watched Kellen walk across a twisted, narrow log as if it were a six-foot-wide sidewalk. He made it look so easy that I was taken aback when it was my turn and I flailed my way across. The only thing keeping me upright was the wind pressure I was generating with my arms.
On my second try, I pulled together everything Kellen had showed us earlier that morning. I made sure my posture was proper, forced myself not to look down, and suddenly I was just walking across the log instead of trying not to fall off.
I did feel as if I missed out on one important thing: the opportunity to interact easily with the other participants. They were an interesting bunch, and I would have liked to get to know them more. All in all, Kellen came through on his promise to ensure I understood what was going on.
I learned new things, and I’m looking forward to the wood bridge obstacle at my next Tough Mudder. I’m glad I decided to just ASK, and even more glad MovNat was so positive and welcoming.
About Myra: Though Myra Yanke spends most of her time as a city girl in Washington D.C., she’s always excited for her next trip into the wilds. She works so she can pay for her Crossfit classes, Vibram FiveFingers, canyoneering trips, and other assorted adventures.