I HAD THE adidas© EXPERIENCE ™
Immediately after exiting Hyde Park’s London 2012 Olympic Shop, a voice asked, “Would you like to have the adidas© Experience?”
I turned. A man dressed head to toe in adidas© gear waited for my reply. His eyebrows raised as he grasped a clipboard to his chest.
“I’m good, thanks.” I replied. I walked away.
I turned around. “You know what?” I told myself. “I’ll give it a try.”
I entered The adidas© Experience ™. This became one of my greatest decisions.
A green and white room, which apparently is adidas©’ colors, holds miniature versions of tennis, the high jump, and, my favorite, the decathlon. I will ignore the broken X-Box 360 Kinect game, the only damper in the arcade.
Directly to my right, a woman wearing identical garb to the clipboard holder asked me if I wanted to play tennis. “Sure,” I replied, searching for a racket. Or tennis balls. My search failed because in the adidas© lacks balls and a racket.
The adidas© Experience Tennis the participant must touch a light that brightens on the wall. The lights, shaped fire detectors, shut off upon contact like a Touch-Lite or watching Vanna White work in reverse. Another light illuminates soon after, and this pattern is repeated for an entire minute. Essentially, the participant stands inches from the wall and flails at wherever they see the light speed up. Playing four years of high school football taught me the benefits of shuffling my feet, so I easily slid across the field and was always in position for the upcoming lights. You can probably tell that I took these games too seriously, yet my determination escalated with each new event.
I also rued that I wore skinny jeans. I need to return again not after with gym shorts so I can find my actual times.
adidas© Tennis only vaguely resembles tennis activity. I’m sure if a tennis player reacted at the last second to something inches from his or her face, they would not be in the Olympics. I assume Olympic tennis players read the other competitor’s body and guess where they plan to return the volley based on body angles and racket speed. adidas© Tennis does not include this because adidas© Tennis is fun.
I walk to the other end of the room over to the high jump station. This is not the Olympic high jump. Nobody will flop into a mattress. This recalls the high jump ehre you jump as high as you can. Against the wall, three HDTVs oriented sideways stand from the ground to the ceiling. They are outfitted with touch sensors to register the highest jump, like giant iPhones that only have one app.
First, the instructor advised me to reach as high as I can to get my “Reach Height.” I raised my arm into the sky and touched…the plastic border in between the television sets. I touched the area slightly below the plastic on the middle screen because I could not stretch as far as the top television, as my Reach Height painfully reminds me. So my Reach Height is actually slightly higher than registered, if that impresses anyone.
“Jump,” the advisor advises. I crouch down, pause, and violently shoot my body up in the air. I time it so my left arm circles from creating drag against the wind into a perpendicular reach. I wish that I hadn’t worn these limiting skinny jeans. I touch the board, feeling like I had a good jump.
The sensor didn’t register.
So I try again, but the machine doesn’t work, nor does it for the next 6 tries. I try reaching with my right hand, but the board fails to read that, too.
The senor eventually acknowledges my physical being, and I notice my top reach stands only a foot from the highest-spotted label on the screen.
“That was pretty good,” I told the advisor.
“Oh, that’s just the highest Reach Height.” I look again. Sure enough, the label is a Reach Height Label. “The guy who did that jumped above all the TVs.”
I learn that my sport is not the high jump.
I walk over to the X-Box. It is the new Kinect system, which does not have a controller. Because it does not have a controller, I have no idea how to arrive at the start menu, so I just leave this one.
Finally, I found my calling. The last mini-game is about speed, and I am fast. Well, I was fairly fast when I played sports. I’m sure these mini-games were designed for ex-high school athletes in mind, although I’m sure they were aiming for the yoga class and jogger demographic, not bored students.
Anyway, in this mini game, there is a track that meanders in a small box-shape. The design resembles a square hedge maze, I guess, but only three lanes. First, you sprint for one step, then you must chop your feet on a pattern of twelve circle lights like you are running through tires in a football practice in hot Texas. A tap turns on a light. You then run around a railing so you are facing the opposite way, and run through a soft mattres. It is supposed to slow you down, but if you are taller than 5’4” you can run over it in one step. Next, you turn around another railing and must jump over two hurdles, the only thing here that correctly replicates an Olympic sport. Finally, you run around the whole track back to the lights, where you must tap your foot on each of them. Once they are all off, the clock stops. You are given a time.
The trick is to make sure you stay light on your feet while touching those last lights. I would lose time because I wouldn’t press directly in the center, so I would have to hit it twice.
Also, knowing how to hurdle helps. I jump over with both feet. My body looks like a police officer’s while sliding across a police car hood. That’s where I lost a second that would have lowered my rank from 80th to the Top 50. This is a superb score. I had been in the Top 300 for the two other games. I feel like a true Olympian.
I’m hot as I leave, vowing to move in skinny jeans again. Sweat stains appear prominently all over my t-shirt. I had skipped the gym this day, but I feel as though I had a real workout.
No I didn’t. I played some stupid fun games.