On January 16th I took a flying spill when I tried to drag a huge dude-sized dummy for 50 feet. There I was, lying on the gym floor, elbows bloodied and pants torn, with an astounded audience looking just as horrified as I was. How did I get there?
*sound of a record needle being ripped off the record*
Wait. Let me back up a bit. That Monday I took a run at the EPS physical assessment. The APREP. It stands for “Alberta something something something.” Maybe one of the P’s stands for policing. Probably. I should look that up. It’s a two part test, with the first part being a timed obstacle course that includes walls, stairs, nefarious equipment and – yep, right at the end when you’re tired – dragging a dummy. You have to finish in under 2 minutes and 10 seconds.
I’d been training hard for this course since last March. I was well-rested, cautiously optimistic, and ready. So what went wrong? I screamed through the stairs, walls and equipment, but when I went to drag the dummy, things did not go as expected.
You’re supposed to grab him by a rope around his ankles (because all people who require rescuing have an ankle rope, right?) and drag him 25 feet to a pylon and then back across the line. I grabbed the ankle rope and lunged. Big mistake. The dummy outweighs me, and then good old physics kicked in. I went flying across the gym floor. You could almost hear this gasp of horror from everyone in the room. I knew it was game over when I hit the floor, but I had to get up and complete the task. But my heart was in my shoes. I was the only unsuccessful candidate in my group.
After the dust settled, I found myself sitting in the car in the parking lot, staring out the window at the pervasive grey that dominated both sky and ground. How was I going to tell everyone that had wished me well that I had failed. On the long drive home, it occurred to me that this setback had an unexpected bonus. I now had a few extra weeks to study for my interviews, since I was rebooked to rerun the course in February. The more I thought about it, the better I felt. The friction burns on my arms are still scabby, and I have yet to sew the rip in my pants, but my epic pile of lemons has made some very useful lemonade.
P.S. I tried really hard to think of good illustrations for this post, but I drew a blank. Literally!