Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Still Alive...

I had the opportunity to fulfull a life long dream yesterday. As you readers are very astute I'm guessing you figured out I'm talking about skydiving. What an experience. My brother and sister-in-law called to let me know that they were going to jump, and my intention was only to go watch them land.
When I arrived I learned they had one extra spot available if someone wanted join in. While this wasn't exactly a cheap endevour I thought, "What the heck". I called my wife. She did not answer, I took that to mean, "It's okay dear, what ever you think".
I watched my family land and then it was my turn. You would think it might be a good idea to get more than a 1 minute breifing on what you are about to do. Aparently that is something you shouldn't really worry about as you prepare to dive head long out of an airplane.
The airplane took off and I was sitting in the tail of small plane strapped to the front end of a very large man. At least he asked my name before cinching down the straps that brought us closer than any first date should bring two people. As we reached 10 thousand feet, about 6 thousand off the ground the door was opened and before long the first set of jumpers were out the door. Do I really want to do this? It was my turn.
We waddled towards the door and I was dangling my feet out the door and under the plane. The wind was intense. I tucked my hands under my shoulder straps and put my head back on the shoulder of the big burly man named Jeff into whose expertise I was about to place my life. Three times Jeff told me to arch my body, and the next thing I knew, I was hurling groundward at 120 miles per hour.
I had wondered why they didn't prep me further as to what to do during the fall, and now I know why. Even the few things I was told in the 1 minute prep period went flying out the window the moment my body was falling out of the sky.
My heart was beating faster than I could ever have imagined, and I lost complete sense of my surroundings. I believe we did one forward flip as we exited the plane. This was the most unnerving portion of the whole experience. Following the flip we arched our bodys and began to fall straight down. Slowly spinning counter clockwise during the fall. I'm pretty sure my instructor was causing this intentionally. I freed my armes and allowed them to float next to my head as I fell. This was my favorite part of the jump. It lasted for about 30 seconds.
I had no warning, when suddenly the straps between my legs went taught and I quickly began to slow. I looked up and sure enough the bright green shoot was filling with air and was saving our lives as advertised.
During the fall Jeff placed us into a couple of tight spins. Amazing to feel as the g-forces once again pressed the harness tight against my body much like the carnival rides you experience that caused you to lose your lunch as a youngster. I watched the first jumper land flawlessly below me.
It was time for us to prepare to land. My instructor now told me to stand up on his feet much like a 6 year old girl dancing with her father. When I did he unhooked the lower harnesses which would allow my lower body to move independent of his. We were now on final approach, and the ground was closing quickly.
We were planning on doing what is called a sliding landing, where you land on your butts. At the last minute Jeff pulled the cords we slowed up and were able to simply place our feet back on solid ground.
As I recount the experience my hands almost begin to shake and I can feel the adrenilene once again pump through my vains. I checked to make sure all vital parts were still attached they were, then I realized, I should call my wife......


Mookie said...

Shall I assume that she might yet finish what the parachute prevented??
Sounds like an awesome time man, would've loved to have been there!

All In said...

I only got the chance because two people who said they wanted to, backed out at the last moment. It was amazing.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I have dreamed of doing it but never could.

Shawnna said...

I'm so glad you are back....and I don't even know you. This post makes my palms sweat and gives me a very queer feeling as I think of you at this height. I am deathly afraid of heights and can't imagine doing this sort of thing even for 5 million dollars! I would love to conquer my fear before my days on earth are over however I don't think I have the guts to do so in this manner! Once again, glad you are back & I hope all is well.

All In said...

Shawnna, thank you so much for your kind words. I was very excited to have this opportunity. If it helps, even knowing I was likely to land safe and sound, and I'm not afraid of heights, I still found myself with that same "queer" feeling.