Push Girls Episode 13 Review: In The Deep End

In episode 13, Mia swims her first meet (and it’s against all able-bodied swimmers), Auti and Eric finally get some deep conversations going on having kids and Tiphany rolls a 5k. And you gotta watch Tiph do her faux chair “run” in Angela’s kitchen.

And good news! Push Girls has been renewed for a second season! (look for it in 2013)


The episode begins by checking in with Mia at the pool, whose doing her last practice before her swim meet, and we get another melodramatic over dub of Mia’s story, and she talks about how hard it was to not be able to swim anymore (and now she’s worried about failing).

Her trainer Kevin, who trained several Paralympic athletes, has her doing different turns in the water. He tells the camera she needs to get over her emotional blocks if she wants to succeed.

After she gets out of the pool, she tells him how slow she feels when she’s swimming, which I’m sure is a big change from how it felt before. “I’m still so far from the level I used to be at,” she says. “The meet is only a few days away, but I really don’t feel ready.”

Next, we see Tiphany at The Millennium Dance Company, who is practicing some moves on a stripper pole with her fitness tractor Sheyla. Tiphany tells the camera that fitness helps her break free and feel a release.  Then we see Tiphany in an able-bodied class doing all the moves that she can, including pushing herself against a bar, doing sit-ups in her chair, and using a fitness bar.

They interview her instructor and she says she’s so impressed by Tiphany, as well as others, that she’ll tease her saying, “You’re not a paraplegic.  You’re just on break.” Tiphany says that she has to adapt the moves when she goes to an able-bodied class.  And then we see her leaning all way over in her chair touching the floor, doing on awesome stretch with the rest of the class.  God damn.

Next, were brought to Auti and Eric’s house, where they’re getting ready to go to parenting class.  They arrive and Auti gets on the couch.  As they play with the baby dolls, they listen to the class. Auti talks about how she’s worried about a toddler running away from her. “Is he going to go somewhere where I can’t chase him down?” They practice wrapping the babiy‘s diaper, and Auti tells the camera how she’s worried she won’t be able to get pregnant, since they haven’t been able to any ways. “And we can’t afford in-vitro.”

Next, we’re brought to Angela and Tiph’s house. Tiphany is looking all buff.  She is starting to work out again Angela as how proud she is of her.  Angela asks Tiphany for a drink (Tiphany already had a protein shake already), and then she shows Angela her funny fake “run“, where she pushes her chair to get momentum, and then does the upper body running motion as a joke (Angela laughs at her and says she’s crazy).  Then we get a awesome montage of Tiphany working out in all different forms.

She’s been inspired to train for a 5k after taking Sheyla’s class. “I want them eat beat my wheelchair dust,” she says with a grin. We see Tiphany lifting a dumbbell over her head, pushing down the street (with the Angela driving along side to her as her pacer), doing arm curls, chin pull ups, and pushing herself through an obstacle course.

Next, Mia goes the airport to pick up her mom who‘s come to watch the meet. “How’s my baby girl?” she asks her after she picks up.  And then she instantly goes into how she’s worried about Mia swimming, hoping she knows what she is getting into. “Having my mom here makes me realize how much more nervous I’m going to be,” Mis says.  “I don’t want you to be reckless. I don’t want you to get hurt,” her mom says.

Since the meet is an hour away from LA, Mia decides to get a hotel room for her them to stay in.  She tells her mom that she’s only been training for a month, and then her Mom tells the camera how swimming makes her think of Mia’s i.  Mia was injured the same day she had her physical for swimming, so her mom is on edge. “I am excited for her.  I think it’s a good first step though,” she tells the camera.

Next, it’s early morning and we’re brought to the big 5k in L.A, and Tiphany has invited her ex-girlfriend Miyoko to do the race with her (love scene couples that can still be friends after a breakup).  The race begins, and Tiphany says is overwhelmed. “I had to avoid getting caught up in the huge crowd of runners.” Tiphany hits some mud and a crack, and winces in pain. “A lot of people don’t realize that if you’re in a wheelchair you just can’t walk over these things.”

At the end of the race, Tiphany says it was tough to see people passing her, “But it actually just motivates me to keep going.” And she’s wearing a cute pink bicycle helmet for safety.  After she finishes, despite shaking arms and numb hands, she’s elated. “When I finished the 5k, I realized what a high it can be.” Auti is there for support and tells her how proud she is.

Next, Auti and Eric are taking their dog for a walk and talking about having kids.  He tells her he wants to have kids, but doesn’t want to rush her.  He also says he’d be open to fostering and adoption. “I was fortunate enough to be a foster child in a good family,” and he tells the camera how great he thinks both of them would make great parents.

Auti isn’t sure she wants to be a foster parent because she’d get too close to the child. “With everything going on in my life, I don’t know if we are ready to have a child right now,” Auti says.

Next, it’s the big day for Mia’s swim meet (and she’s swimming against able-bodied swimmers).  Mia tells the camera she’s worried about her muscles tensing up in the pool, which happens when she gets cold.  And then Mia’s mom tells the camera she can tell when Mia is nervous because she gets quiet. “She never verbalizes her emotions,” she says.

Then they see the pool, and her mom reassures her, “It’s just swimming, Mia. It’s just swimming.” But once Mia sees the able-bodied swimmers practicing, she begins to cry.

“Seeing my able-bodied friends practice made me realize why it took me so long to get back to the pool: I was no longer a part of their world,” she says. “I’m just scared to get in.” Her mom tries reassures her, “It’s just different. Are you ready?”

And then we’re back with Auti and Eric who are fiercely going over their options.  Auti says they can’t afford in-vitro, but Eric disagrees.  And then her tells the camera that he’s not quite sure if Auti even wants to have a baby right now.  He tells her she’s being self centered, and they argue. “You either want to have a child or you don’t,” he says to her point blank. They agree that her career is taking precedence right now, Eric says he’s not going to beat a dead horse.

And they have a sweet heart to heart, and Eric says he’s not going to ever leave her and have kids with someone else just because they can have kids right now.  Auti says, “Good.  Cause I’d come after you.”

Next, we are back at the pool and Mia is telling her swim coach how nervous she is. “You’ll be fine. Just have fun,” he says.  All then all the girls show up to give Mia their support.  When Auti arrives, she can’t believe that Mia will be swimming against only able-bodied swimmers. “What?? You freaking rock, Mia.”

The race begins, and Mia does the backstroke. You can tell she is not as fast as the others. Auti says it was hard to watch. “It was hard to see her struggling to do something she wants to do so badly.” “I could tell she is having a hard time getting through this.“ And Angela says could tell she was struggling too. “I could feel her coldness in the pool.”

After the race, Mia’s says she’s happy and proud that she finished the race, but it’s nothing like before her injury. “I didn’t expect it to feel the same, but it REALLY didn’t feel the same,” she says. Her mom asks her how it her time was, that both know it wasn’t that fast. “You finished though,” she says, and then Mia’s mom tells the camera she knows shall never be as fast as she was before, but she’s still proud of her.

Mia goes over to see the girls after the race, and cries some more, and Auti is shocked that to see her cry. “This is the first time I’ve seen Mia cry in six years,” she says. And Mia tells the camera how hard it is to deal with her physical weakness, because she’s so mentally sharp. “I had to accept the fact that I lost the ability to do would I used to do perfectly,” she tells the camera. And then she laments to the girls, “I want to do it the same way I used to.”

The episode ends with Mia telling the camera that swimming will never be the same again, she now knows that, but that’s ok. “Because it’s so much harder now, I feel I’ve accomplished more by doing it.”

Have you went to try something after your injury and it just wasn’t the same?  How did you grieve?

  1. Although I am not spinal cord injured, I too lost the ability to swim competitively able bodied due to my disability, like Mia. My movement disorder became severe when I was 13 and at 16 when I tried to re-join the swimteam after being off for 3 years, I realized I could no longer push myself like I used to. Watching Mia swim made me cry. I’ve felt the same thing, the difference a disability makes in the activity you once excelled at. I cannot swim more than a few minutes because exercise triggers severe involuntary movements for me. It amazed me as Mia got out of the pool how shaking she was, but you could see how proud she was too. That’s strength, facing something that’s hard and painful because no matter how hard it is you want to do it. Mia is my hero.

  2. Thanks for sharing, WC! That sucks the same thing kind of happened to you… 🙁 Mia is amazing.

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