Dodgeball on Trampolines at Jumptime Idaho 

Staffer finds that pint-sized competition mean business

A trip to Jumptime Idaho isn't unlike traveling back to childhood--partially because the trampoline palace in a Meridian strip mall easily brings back memories of joyous days spent bouncing in the back yards of elementary-school friends, and partially because it's chock-full of children.

On a visit to Jumptime to try out trampoline dodgeball, I was initially afraid. All of my opponents looked to be younger than 12, except for one guy (probably a brother or young dad) and the referee yelling out "watch your lines" and "jailbreak." As I filled out the waiver on a laptop near the playing field, typing while pre-adolescents hucked balls full-speed at one another, I tried to stave off mental images of channeling my forgotten softball skills and hurling a ball at a 5-year-old, followed by a river of tears and me slinking off the court in shame.

After a tour of Jumptime's facilities, I decided to warm up for my game with a few bounces off the trampoline wall and into the foam pit. My attempts to emulate the moves of trampoline-talented kids resulted in me looking like, in the words of my colleague, "drunk Superman." Still, falling ungracefully into a pit of foam blocks and then fighting my way out quicksand-style was a blast, and I didn't want to leave.

After a few more falls into the foam, I ventured over to the tumble tracks and watched one jumper run up walls, perform high-flying backflips and tumble with skills reminiscent of the national cheer competitions that show up on ESPN.

And then it was time. I walked over to the space where seemingly tireless children were still throwing colorful balls across a thin chalk line at each other and prepared to play nice. The ref explained the rules and said, "It's a lot like that movie, Dodgeball." I thought about a slightly deranged coach hurling wrenches at Vince Vaughn's pitiful crew and stepped in for a new game.

First throw, and I was out. All my worry about tossing things at children was for naught; these kids were veritable dodgeball pros and I was out of my league. After a few more rounds and working up a bit of a sweat, I stepped off the court. Trampoline dodgeball provided a lot more entertainment than an hour on the treadmill, and a pretty stellar cardio workout.

If you want a more-adult experience, bring some friends or book a party. Or if you want a fun, active adventure for the whole family, join in one of Jumptime's drop-in dodgeball pick-up games; they're something you can get into no matter your age.

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