The logical progression called for me to write about jump number five next, but that post isn’t quite ready. I also received a request to write the story of jump number 500.
500 will be a hard jump to write about, as even though I did my best: Yes friends, if your shoe comes off of you in freefall, it IS possible, to turn and catch it; as I’ve mentioned before, slow is fast and time can stand still. However, I may have to wait five more years before I can write that story with the true humility it requires.
So, onward to a random request. February 13, 2009 – Jump #141.
I’d flown into Phoenix late at night on the cheapest flight I could find a few days earlier. I had booked a ride to the DZ in a shuttle van and I can clearly remember riding through the solitude of the desert night. The shuttle driver seemed familiar with the route, though I was worried if I would find the way to my bunk I had booked once I got there.
My fear was quickly dashed when I arrived and saw the lights on at the Bent Prop Saloon. I walked in with two duffel bags and a rig over my shoulder and felt like I was home. Within a minute or two I was greeted by nearly every skydiver in the room and had a drink in my hand. After sharing the tale of my travels I was shown to my accommodations for the night. I slept as soundly as any Michigan skydiver could when he knows he’ll have a warm desert skydive in the morning.
The next morning had a surprise waiting for me outside when I woke. The Biggest Blue Sky I have every seen in my life. With little terrain in sight, just a circle of mountain tops in the distance really, there was just nothing to stand in it’s way. And the light of the Arizona sun was blinding. Granted, I hadn’t seen blue skies and sunshine in about five months.. but WOW, I had never seen the sun shine that bright.
I got three jumps that first day, a solo to acquaint myself with the surroundings and realized the air is only that warm on the ground! Next a three way with a local organizer, Diane and fresh new 50-jump skydiver from out west somewhere, Karl, who didn’t realize a jumpsuit and helmet might help him do this RW thing. We didn’t get any points on that jump.. and I decided to take lunch. Jon and Gordy had arrived and waivered while I was eating and when I got back we did our first three way of the trip. They had traveled all day, so we stopped jumping after that, settled into our rooms for the night and found a nice place to go out and eat.
And now, jump #141: A four-way with Gordy, Jon, Karl and myself. First point was a circle and we made that happen well. Next point was to be bi-poles with me and Jon turning 180 in place. As always, I wish I had outside video, as I’m sure it would be quite hilarious to see, from that perspective, how poorly I executed my first back-in on a skydive. It was a good jump and I marked 1 point in my book.
Five years later.. when I think about that dive now. I wonder if I should have told Jon I wasn’t ready for a back-in slot. Actually, I wondered that then and now I know. Yes, I should have told him I wasn’t ready for a back-in slot. Why didn’t I? Honestly, I had three times the jumps as Mr. Hot Karl had that day. Lesson to be learned?
Don’t be concerned with how well anyone but yourself can do on your skydive. Don’t oversell yourself by comparison, you will come up short. As of today, I believe that up and coming jumper has at least twice as many jumps as I, and if the photo below is any proof.. he had twice as much fun in Eloy than anyone else did!
Thank You Karl, for that jump, as well as just the pleasure of meeting you that weekend!