Tangled in the Ropes Course
By Marlin Agoub
I walked up to the fenced enclosure, tilting my head up at a 45-degree angle to take my first glance at the 50-foot-tall high ropes course called “Odyssey,” located at the Anteater Recreation Center. Then only a meek freshman, I made it a goal to one day finish it. I dreamed of that moment for my entire time at UC Irvine.
The “Team Up” Outdoor Adventure, presented by Campus Recreation, consists of several team building activities ranging from ground-level games that reinforce the basics of teamwork, to challenges on the 45-foot and 50-foot-high ropes course.
Any organization can book time on the course, with prices for UCI students starting at $15 per person for the low difficulty program to $50 per person for a full day course.
It has held the number one spot on my senior bucket list this year, right next to running for homecoming court and attending a game of each sports team at UCI.
I reached the ropes course as one of 12 ‘CARE Right to Know’ peer educators in order to strengthen our teamwork skills
The program began on the field level with an upbeat exercise called the “Mingle,” where teams of two to five people had to work together to act out a scenario, such as a functional lighthouse or a queen waving to her subjects.
Afterwards we moved on to the more difficult task of creating connected human structures while keeping a certain amount of feet on the ground.
After completing the field obstacles, which are meant to prime the participants for the course, we were split into two teams.
My group of six began to climb the tall woven rope ladder up 50 feet diagonally to the highest platform. We secured our rope harnesses to the guideline and began to tight ropewalk together, preventing each other from falling, on our first excursion to the next section of the 360-foot-long course.
The course tends to reveal fears of height, but the atmosphere created by the teamwork alleviates any phobias. My teammates and I cheered each other on as we walked sideways from the first platform and pulled each other onto the second one.
The next portion of the course involves fitting the entire team onto a small bench and pulling in unison several ropes connected to pulleys to propel yourself across another chasm.
We had to hold the bench steady as each of us climbed on. As we pulled ourselves between two platforms at a pace that felt like an inch at a time, we found ourselves to naturally begin working in unison.
Despite the difficulty of the course, all of us supported each other. I’ve never felt safer than when I was with my teammates 50 feet in the air.
After one last tight ropewalk, the course ends on a platform with a zip line attached to an opposite support. Winded from the last section, I looked around me and I asked our ropes coach how we were getting down. She pointed towards the zip-line from the platform straight to the tall wooden pole 50 feet onward. She told me to strap on my harness and she would count one, two, three and I would scoot myself forward and fall. It was the scariest request that I received all day but I knew I had to finish.
When she got to three, I let myself fall and I held onto my harness ropes for dear life as I had one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life: a perfect way to end the program.
The “Team Up” program is designed to build teamwork and it accomplishes just that. This was definitely a major activity to check off my college bucket list and I recommend all students to do the same.