A Story Of Hubbables Past

Hubbable is an annual Parkour Jam hosted by the team Hub Freerunning in Boston. The event started 6 years ago, meant just to get the small community of parkour practitioners in the city to come together and train as a group. Like most humble beginnings, Hubbable has now turned into one of the largest gatherings of parkour in the country. With over 300+ in attendance each year, Hubbable has become a pseudo-holiday for athletes in the community looking to break their training hibernation. 

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Jams have been around since the beginning of parkour. They came out of the desire to share the movement with others, and to help push the mental boundaries that get in the way of progression. If you are training alone, you might not push yourself past what you know, and taking big risks could come with big consequences. With friends, that dynamic changes.  These gatherings take advantage of strength in numbers; with more people doing a similar activity, everything as a whole becomes safer. 

Hubbable was born in Boston back in 2010. It gets its name from the team "Hub Freerunning", a team formed the same year, comprised of a wild bunch of Boston locals that fell in love with flips and jumps. In the northeast, there's this thing called Winter, and Winter makes everything it touches cold. The air, the trees, the concrete. Although many have tried, training in this time of year is only good for runny noses and white fingertips. So it is custom for many in the area to go into "hibernation". They focus on indoor training like weight lifting, indoor rock climbing or some other activity to keep the muscles sharp. The guys at Hub Freerunning were no strangers to this routine, and during the winter months, they would spend it waiting for the first days of spring warmth, plotting the skills they would work on once the iron grip of winter subsided. Spring became a big deal, especially as the community grew. With such a large build up of suppressed energy, there needed to be a way that we could express the relief in getting back to our dirty walls and wobbly rails. In a way that didn't tear the city apart on the first sight of a budding tree. So Hubbable was created.

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A jam at its smallest can be two people. Usually, it's just a couple hours of challenging each other and coming up with creative solutions to problems in movement. With a jam of over 300 people, things need to be a bit more organized. Try to imagine 300 people who have trained their bodies to jump on everything in sight, running around Boston just to fulfill a deep desire to put their body where not many people think about putting it. The image in your head should be chaotic and for good reason. Hubbable takes the chaos and directs it to a productive training session that lasts two days. The first day, everyone meets at the historic Charlestown Naval Yard at a spot the parkour community calls "Baby Pool". Athletes from New York, Colorado, California, even Canada, slowly converge into the area. By the time it seems like everyone has arrived, the mass of athletes is moved to a new spot, Harvard-Kent, a playground in a city-suburban school. The end of the session at Harvard-Kent is determined by the position of the sun in the sky. If the night is close, it's about time to start moving. Athletes start to make their way to the Gym Session. 

Every year so far, Hubbable has had a Gym Session at a slightly different place. Last year it was held in a warehouse as a pop-up gym, for example. This year is different. This year, the Gym Session will take place at the first dedicated parkour gym in Massachusetts: Hub Parkour Training Center. This is a big deal for the community, Hub PTC represents the evolution of the parkour community into something more legitimate than a group of people in baggy pants jumping around. It represents the evolution of Parkour into an athletic discipline. Not that it wasn't already, but having a dedicated space allows for people, who may have had reservations about Parkour, a chance to see the intricate movement that makes up the discipline.

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After an all-night session at the gym, day two is the wind-down day. Since the gym is used for some to sleep overnight, smaller groups head back out to Boston to lightly train and probably sightsee a bit if they haven't been to the city before. As the last few straggling groups head out from the gym, the jam ends officially.  Training season has begun.

Dylan Polin