Thursday, March 3, 2011

The new girl....

Last night when I walked into step class I had a momentary irritation that someone had set up their bench in "my" spot.  If you take any kind of group fitness classes regularly, you'll know what I mean.  All the regulars always have their spot.  And I don't know about everybody else, but if I'm not in my spot, I always feel a little off....

So, I set up my bench behind her, and really I'm ok, because this is my old spot.  I soon find out that the spot taker is a new person.  A young woman, Asian, long luxurious hair.

The other regulars and I exchange eye contact with little smiles behind our eyes regarding the new girl.  It's always interesting when new people wander into our master step class.  The choreography is quite complex, and if you don't take the class regularly you will not get most of the steps.  If you have stepped before you may get about 70% of the steps after coming for a couple of weeks.  If you've never stepped at all before, you'll be hopelessly lost.  I can only say this because I have been in every one of these situations myself.  That, and observing the behavior of the newbies is very telling.

There is about 5 minutes before the class starts, and the new girl is arranging and re-arranging her bench.  When she does stand up right, she has a slight nervous twitch in her leg.  The instructor gets ready to begin class, and asks if there is anyone new noticing the new girl right away.  She asks her if she's ever stepped before.  "no"  and the new girl's legs go from slightly nervous to full on nervous.  She is really bouncing around while listening to the instructor encourage her to keep coming.  Letting her know in advance that she will likely be very lost..

I feel bad for the new girl, recognizing her anxiety right away.  Her nervous legs are just like my 7 year old niece who in her anxiety has trouble holding her legs still.

The instructor starts with the warm up, and the new girl is having trouble catching the rhythm.  It can be very distracting to have someone in your line of vision who isn't in step with everyone else.  And when taking this class, you have to be paying attention every second.  A couple of weeks ago an older lady fell and broke her leg in class.  I have fallen several times.  I have a friend who fell once and cracked a rib.

People usually last about 10-15 minutes before they give up.  Pack up their benches and leave.  I assume that the new girl will be the same.  But after the usual time that people who aren't quite getting it leave,  she takes off her jacket.

I start to be a little impressed.  The class continues, and the new girl is all over the place.  If she happens to be in the right place at the right time it happens seemingly by pure accident.  At the first water break, she surprisingly is still staying.  After the 2nd water break, I do something that is uncharacteristic for me. I walk up to her and tell her she's doing a good job.  Most people leave by now, and I encouraged her to keep coming.  The new girl never gave up.  She made it through the entire class.  I so admire her for staying.

The new girl has made an impression on me.  I give up too easy sometimes.  Don't we all?  Even if we are stumbling and terrible at something at first, if we keep at it, we'll finish.  And the next time, we'll stumble less, and before you know it, it might even be something that we become really great at.  And if you give up to soon, you may not ever find out that you could be truly great.....I hope she comes back next week.


  1. If I ever considered going to your step class this blog has changed my mind forever!!!

  2. That is so awesome you walked up to her and gave her some encouragement.
    Sometimes I give up to easily too. Thank you for giving me something to think about!

  3. I would have been one of those people who left midway and probably never returned. I don't seem to be all that coordinated anyway; my mother always said I was like a bull in a china shop, lovingly of course. I am sure the new girl really appreciated your encouragement Amy...way to go...even after she took your spot.

  4. that is awesome..but I thought you were going to say "...but next time put your bench someplace else! " lol

  5. Wow...that takes a very brave person to attend something like that in the first place, and then to keep struggling though and stick it out. Good for her. If only we were all so brave, just think about the things we might accomplish in our lives!

  6. Lol @ Amy! I didn't even think about it. I totally missed my opportunity.

    I'm still thinking about that girl! Do you believe it? Thanks for all the comments ladies!

  7. Lovely story, Amy, thank you for sharing that. Maybe the new girl just had first-time jitters, but as someone who struggles w/ very serious social anxiety [and has always had that leg shaking thing!], I can say that if anything will get the new girl back, it will be your encouragement even more so than the instructor's. There's an expectation that an instructor will be understanding, but for a more experienced person in the class to let her know she wasn't being judged, I'm sure it means so much more. She was brave, and you were kind, and that's what we need more of in this world! Also, your class scares me. :D

  8. Good on her for sticking with it!! And how nice of you to give her some encouragement :) I totally would have left....heck I wouldn't have even made it there in the first place lol. It's hard to stick with new things, spesh if they are very challenging. I have that problem myself.

  9. We have lots of shaking legs (and anxiety disorders) in our family. I'm certain that is why she touched me. I always feel for someone who is visibly anxious because I know what it takes to get there in the first place for anxiety sufferers. And Emma, I've seen you stick it out when things were challenging! We all need to give ourselves more credit.