Some of the most frequent comments I receive when it comes to skydiving are, “I’m not good enough to jump with you. You wouldn’t want to jump with me. Maybe one day I’ll be able to fly with you… etc.” I’m not sure what some people think I’m made of, but I’m not superhuman. I didn’t come out of the womb flying the way I do. And yes, you abso-f*@%ing-lutely can jump with me, today, right now, this very moment (provided we were both geared up somewhere at a dropzone). The only thing stopping you is your attitude toward yourself.
Just a reminder, I was a newbie skydiver student at one time as well. I crash landed, flailed uncontrollably (still do, just ask my old teammates), and went through my fair share of learning slumps and plateaus. It took me over 1200 skydives and 120hrs of tunnel time to get to where I am today, and I’m still figuring stuff out. It is an ongoing process that will never end. I always tell my students, the moment you think you know it all, stop asking questions, and have nothing left to improve on, is the moment you will get hurt.
But let’s get back on track… I am always happy to jump with people, regardless of skill level, as long as you are safe (you won’t injure or kill any of us in the process), have an open mind (want to learn and progress), and just want to have a good time (after all if it doesn’t put a smile on your face, what the hell are you doing it for then?). I think a common misconception in the sport is that experienced jumpers will only jump with other experienced jumpers. If a more experienced jumper is “too good” to jump with you then they aren’t someone you want to jump with anyways (their loss, not yours). A skydiver you can learn from is one that always remembers that many people helped them get to where they are today, and will always be happy to do the same for another.
Some of my favorite jumps are when I get to witness something I taught someone click into place and the way their face lights up when they realize it’s working and they’re actually doing it. We’ve all had those breakthrough moments in different aspects of our lives, but there is something so very cool about sharing it in freefall with someone. So the next time you see me rather than saying I wish I could fly like you, ask me how to do it. Rather than making a statement that implies you will never be able to, just start working toward it. If you only learn one tip from someone on any given day, that is one step closer to getting what you “wish” you had.
I will be organizing at Project Orange, hosted by Performance Designs at Skydive City Zephyrhills, FL from October 16-20. All skill levels are welcome so I don’t want to hear anymore of the, “I’m not good enough, maybe one day I’ll be ready” crap. Check out this video from Skydive Dallas’ American Revolution Boogie. I flew almost exclusively with people just learning to sitfly and we had a blast. The guys that stuck with me all weekend improved dramatically and left with a whole bunch of things to work on to keep progressing even further. I can’t wait to cross paths with them again to see the difference.
As a newbie jumper I know it can be intimidating to approach more experienced jumpers. And I know at events I’m usually running around like crazy. But just stop me (I promise I don’t bite. And if you really want my attention bring cupcakes), introduce yourself and let’s fly!