Up in the air on Lopez Island

  • Fri May 7th, 2010 11:45pm
  • Life
Anne Burton jumps on the trampoline above her trampoline students.

Anne Burton jumps on the trampoline above her trampoline students.

Lopez offers many ways for the island youth to find their passion. The island is an environment that teaches children to be at home with the earth, and with the water. Now, Lopez resident Anne Burton is adding a third element: air.

“I used to compete for England in trampolining,” says Burton, describing the history of the passion that she now passes on to Lopez children. After a hiatus of six years during which time she lived in China, Burton is back cultivating “air sense” in Lopez children aged 8-19.

“Some kids just have it,” she says, describing “air-sense” as a natural ability to understand the posture and grace needed to be a top rate trampolinist.

“That’s the great thing about trampoline, you get such a diverse range of kids who can do it, a kid that is great at sport might not be great at trampoline, you never know until they go up in the air.”

This new freedom from gravity, however, is not unmonitored. “Teaching safety is a really important issue for me,” says Burton. It takes all of her expertise to “unlearn” the bad habits of students who have done a lot of “backyard” trampolining. Posture correction and educating the team about which parts of the anatomy should be used to control the jump, are all part of making a safe and successful team.

Burton began teaching again last november, and has turned out a group of diverse ages and multiple successes. They have attended four meets and, as one team member Tony Richardson says “We’ve won a stack of medals.”

On May 1 the team attended the State finals at Renton community center, competing against approximately 200 other students.

Sophie and Jessica Burton, Britton Weber, Tony Richardson, Quinn Dye, Uhane Johnson all qualified for Nationals. The team also took home several first place awards.

Burton is pleased not only with the results of the physical benefits for the students, but the also mental. “Some of the kids were so shy before.” She describes how the new found talent to navigate the air in twists and back flips lends a confidence to previously quiet, withdrawn children.

“It’s nice because we have such diversity, they are all really good at giving each other support,” she adds, enjoying the dynamics of the team spirit.

“The thing I most love about trampoline is how good it makes you feel! Even if kids have a bad day at school or feel unhappy, usually after bouncing for a while they are smiling and having fun. It is a great “feel good sport.’’