Students practice their stick-to-it-ness


September 23, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

Oh, those crazy college kids.

They've swallowed goldfish, packed themselves in Volkswagens, donned sheets for toga parties and cross-dressed to watch "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

So maybe dressing in a special suit and sticking upside down to an inflated rubber wall isn't so weird after all.

At least none of the dozens of students who lined up at Anne Arundel Community College Monday to try the advertised "Velcro jumping" seemed to think they were doing anything strange.

Pami Bennanzar, a Towson State University student who had traveled to Arnold to try it, was so impressed she kept returning to the line. "It's a lot of fun," she said brightly.

At barely 5 feet tall, she seemed lost in the baggy blue coveralls with the black hook and loop Velcro-like fabric strips.

She was too short to get a good running jump off the inflated rubber floor, so two attendants stood by her and helped her flip upside down.

The next time, she tried it alone and ran head first into the wall and bounced off.

The third time, she flipped and stuck.

"You have to do it upside down or you'll get a really bad wedgy," she advised.

A wedgy? The coveralls can be uncomfortably restrictive for those who tackle the wall head up, she explained.

"Your crotch will end up at your throat," said Tony Hildebrand, a freshman who learned the hard way that it is better to flip upside down.

Dave Haynie, a freshman from Pasadena, and one the early jumpers, set the height mark others tried to beat. He attributed his success to his 6-feet, 2-inch frame and his 155 pounds.

"It's intense," Mr. Haynie said, dropping by between classes to make sure his record stayed intact.

AACC's campus event is not a new pastime, said Paul Asher, one of the owners of Ace Amusement Co., the White Plains, N.Y., company which furnished the inflatable wall. He said the sport began in New Zealand more than 10 years ago and was popularized in America several years ago when it was featured on "The David Letterman Show."

Mr. Asher said he and his partners have been making a living hauling their wall to bars and campuses all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area for about a year. "It's like bungee jumping. It's a new thing," he said.

They charge between $800 and $1,200 for each event.

The advertised "Velcro jumping" is among a number of free activities offered at Anne Arundel Community College this week to celebrate Fall Festival Week, said Lynda Fitzgerald, coordinator of Campus Recreation.

Although the college usually offers a number of games and activities during the week, this was the first year it presented this attraction, and there seemed to be no shortage of students willing to try it.

Techniques varied from the graceful moves of a dainty brunette who gently attached herself to the wall to the enthusiastic runs of hefty guys who threw themselves into the wall and bounced off.

"It's hard when you're short and small like me," said Linda Dalder, who attacked the wall several times, but only stuck with the help of the attendants. "I have a fear of trying flips," she admitted.

"I like to try just about anything once," said Zac Mann, a freshman from Annapolis, who plastered himself to the wall. The attraction, he explained, is the strange sensation of hanging upside down. "You feel like you should just bounce off, but you don't."

Karmin Rey, a tall, red-haired freshman from Glen Burnie, used a handstand technique and succeeding in sticking to the wall on every attempt. "I'd seen it done on TV and I wanted to try it," she said. "It gives you a good head rush."

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