29 Apr A Note From Kate:
To Urban Evolution and Everyone Who Makes It Possible:
On March 4th, I attended the grand opening of Urban Evolution’s second facility in Manassas, VA. As others have elsewhere lauded, this gym is an impressive tribute to alternative fitness. But what I think of when I remember March 4th isn’t the facility so much as the people who made it happen, and the incredible gift they shared with us that day.
I brought several friends with me on the unseasonably warm late winter Saturday on which opening was held, and by the time I arrived, the massive open space was packed with traceurs, gymnasts, members of the Alexandria gym (like myself), and many kids and adults from the community who were exposed to the art of parkour for the first time that afternoon. I jumped into an Introduction to Parkour class and then began to move around with my friends as they splintered into areas that interested them most. Over the course of the day, we jumped on trampolines and the tumble track, swung on poles, crawled across pavement, stood on our hands, climbed up on boxes, and performed aerial silks (the highlight of my day). Some of this was done under the careful instruction of Urban Evolution professionals. Some of this was done completely on our own.
With the exception of silks, all of these were things I had done before. I have been a member of Urban Evo since May of 2011 and have taken quite a bit of parkour. But somehow on that Saturday everything felt new. The open floor space, bursting with skilled and not-yet-skilled athletes, was exuding a sense of hope and freedom I have rarely felt before. Every obstacle became an opportunity to try something new. Every failure was simply a future chance to succeed. Seeing someone do a flip, I did not think, “I cannot do that,” so much as, “If I keep coming here, if I keep working at it, I will be able to do that.” I wasn’t the only one. Optimism spread like a contagion that day; you could see it on every face, on every drop of sweat hitting the floor, on every hand stretched into the air, on every grimace of strain and grin of triumph.
For me, Urban Evolution means freedom. The classes teach a freedom of doing something with your body that you didn’t believe was possible, whether it be lifting a weighted bar over your head, a handstand pushup, a wall-run, a back handspring, a vault, or hanging from the air in a bolt of cloth. At Urban Evolution anything is possible. If you want to do it, you can, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. The instructors are there waiting for you if you’re ready to make it happen.
Never has that sense of freedom been more tangible than it was during the grand opening of the Manassas gym. Like it did to the hundreds of other people who came in that day, it washed over me, filling me with a renewed feeling of hope and drive to succeed. And it has stayed with me ever since. I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary with Urban Evo soon, and more than ever, I look forward to my trips to the gym throughout the week. On Fridays (and soon Wednesdays) I now do aerial silks in Alexandria, and every Saturday I go to Manassas to practice gymnastics where our instructor, Eugene, is teaching me to do a back handspring. I can’t do it yet, but one day soon I will.
Thank you everyone who has made and continues to make Urban Evolution possible. You are a source of hope. You are a gateway to freedom. You are awesome. Can’t wait to see you at the gym.