On this week’s episode of Push Girls three of the five girls are determined to prove their athletic abilities and it’s quite an impressive accomplishment. Mia enters and finishes her first swimming competition in 17 years; Tiphany enters and pushes herself through a 5k; and finally Auti and Eric admit to having lots of sexy time with hopes of getting pregnant. That’s a lot of action for a thirty-minute show, right?
The show opens with Mia’s story of being paralyzed on the way to swim tryouts when she was 15-years-old. If you’ve been watching the entire season of PG, you know this is the fourth or fifth time we’ve heard this story but in this case the redundancy is necessary because it’s relevant. Mia is determined to face her demons and jump back in the pool to compete. Because even though Mia is paralyzed due to a blood vessel that ruptured in her spinal cord, she associates her injury with swimming because the injury happened on the way to get her swimming physical. So entering the swim meet is not just about her joining a competition, but an emotional challenge to fully accept her disability—something she seems to have avoided unknowingly for years. With Kenneth, a coach that has taught former Para-Olympians, and a month of training behind her she heads to Irvine for her first competition. And guess who shows up for moral support? Mia’s crazy mom Rita, the woman that talked about her daughter in such a strange way, like saying “I wish she died” and “I didn’t know people in wheelchairs could function” earlier in the season. This week, however, Rita’s not proving to be crazy but instead just driving Mia crazy by intensifying the pressure her daughter already feels to compete.
It’s no secret that Tiphany likes to workout, and this week the show showcases her in an able-bodied workout class doing push ups against a pole and lifting weights like the others. Even though some of her exercises are adapted to accommodate her wheelchair, she admits to feeling the most normal in the gym while working out. “It’s such a release,” she says. And like how Mia challenged herself by entering a swim meet, Tiphany decides to enter a 5k. But get this. Guess who shows up for her moral support? Her ex-girlfriend Miyoko! I wanted to know more about that reunion, and why Miyoko agreed to help her after being dissed earlier on in the season but no luck. Instead, we got to watch Tiphany push through the race, which was sometimes a struggle when going up hill. I was surprised to see her pushing in her everyday chair because there are sportier chairs that are meant for racing. From what I understand, racing chairs have angled wheels and are designed to be lighter and easier to push than everyday chairs. But maybe it’s something she’ll look into down the road if she continues her fitness regimen? Either way, Tiphany gave a solid effort to finishing the 5k and I hope she continues to race. It’s what seems to make her really happy.
Eric and Auti are talking about having a baby again, and this time Eric makes the first move by signing the couple up for a parenting class. In a sit-down discussion with her husband, Auti explains that she’s worried about the physical aspects of having children, like not being able to chase around toddlers… among other responsibilities that require lots of physical demands. I imagine she also wonders if she’ll be a good enough mother? It’s something I worry about all the time too when I think about having a family… but then I think it’s something every woman wonders when thinking of rearing children. Eric, on the other hand, is not afraid of fatherhood. He was a foster child and feels ready to give back and have a parenting experience at any costs, or anyway of delivery like adoption. After much discussion, the truth why Auti is most hesitant to having a baby comes out and it’s a timing issue. She isn’t ready with so many career-oriented opportunities happening to her presently (like perhaps a reality show wink, wink). So Eric agrees to wait for her, but asks she at least keep an open-mind to parenting options moving forward. She does, which obliges him for now or most likely until the next conversation.
And finally the day of the swim meet arrives and Mia is as quiet as a mouse. It’s what she does when she becomes super nervous. “Mia doesn’t know how to express her emotions,” Rita says. “So she becomes very quiet.” And apparently starts crying, because that’s what happened when she finally arrived to the pool. The emotional connection to her injury proves to be too much, and Mia breaks down on the scene. But there’s a hidden theme on this week’s Push Girls episode and it’s called “The power of moral support,” because when all the other Push Girls show up to the pool to cheer Mia on, she puts her game face on and appears ready for competition. She hops out of her chair onto the edge of the pool, and then pushes herself into the pool, waiting for the queue to start. It’s hard to tell whom else she’s competing against because the camera never shows her competition, but by now we know the race isn’t about winning. It’s about exploding through boundaries and limitations. So slowly but surely, Mia strokes her way to the finish line. And once she touches the wall, everyone cheers—including me. The completion of the meet, however, makes Mia breakdown once more but these tears seem like tears of happiness and probably relief. For the first time, she appears to be processing what her injury has taken away from her, like being the fastest swimmer at any meet. At the same time, she seems to be realizing how important it is to face these challenges and release emotions. So congrats Mia!
Tune in next week for the Push Girls season finale. I look forward to seeing how they pull this season together. How about you? What has been your favorite Push Girls episode/scene?