Monday, October 1, 2012

A Leap of Faith

Almost six years ago I jumped out of an airplane. Not a perfectly good one, mind you. Because I've been told repeatedly by those who claim to know, "there are no perfectly good airplanes." Which is why skydivers prefer to jump out thousands of feet in the air versus staying in the plane as it touches down on terra firma.

My first jump-yes, I am a repeat offender-gave me a mere glimpse of freedom in the sky. Thankfully I was securely attached to a tandem instructor named Andre (in the picture). Yes, he was French. And tall. And cute. Then I met Dave the videographer, who jumped out with us to capture this moment (rather, five minutes) for posterity.

When I asked Andre a few questions to reassure myself he loved life and intended on sticking around for a long time, Dave dived into the conversation, solemnly informing me that very recently Andre's girlfriend broke up with him, he wrecked his car, his job was in jeopardy, and his dog was run over this morning. Of course I laughed. That Dave, what a cut-up. Joking around moments before I was scheduled to be hurled out at 13,000 feet. (Dave, you were joking, right? You do have a sense of humor?)

How long had I wanted to try a skydive? Thinking back, it started when my brother and my sister both tried it, decades ago when they were still in college. Of course we all know our brain cells are still forming, shifting and deciding what they want to be when they grow up, so the mind's decision-making ability is not always optimal. This explained a lot. But I digress from my digression.

First, my brother. He made two jumps, both using a static line and both with the old round canopies that pretty much floated and landed you wherever the winds decided. The static line was a setup to ensure a new jumper didn't forget to pull the ripcord and deploy the parachute. Ha, as if anyone would forget. Forget in time before you came dangerously close to earth? Maybe. But forget entirely? Doubtful.

So, as you jump from the airplane, the line connecting your parachute to something in the airplane tightens and pulls for you. Easy, right? Right, only in my opinion, pulling is the easy part. Landing in one piece is a bit more of a challenge.

My brother found that out on his second jump. His first was fairly uneventful, but then the winds picked up. In hindsight, he had no business jumping out of a plane with his lack of experience and those conditions. He broke his ankle.

My sister's end of jumping was less eventful.She ran out of money.

Both great excuses for not continuing on with a sport that some find much too dangerous, and others find the most peaceful place to be.

Now, a decision. I have a perfect opportunity to finish my training and get my first skydiving license this November. I am not sure what I will do. Part of me says to go for it. It is truly the most remarkable, adrenaline rush I have ever done. Part of me says "are you crazy, lady?"

Stay tuned.


  1. Yes, you're crazy, and yes, you have to go for it!

  2. Of course you have to do it! Why would you question it?

    So nice to know that I'm a lot saner than some people.