101 Things To Do*

* before I die


Skydive in a
Spectacular Place

Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a spectacular place - but the activity itself is spectacular enough.  I did it with nine of my juggling friends.  We spent an entire Saturday at Skydive San Marcos (in central Texas).  My father - a skydiver himself for many years -  made a five-hour drive from his home in Beaumont just to see me jump.

I was the first one from our group to jump.  It was a tandem jump - which means I was attached to the Jump Master (he was behind me) and he wore, and was in control of, the parachute - an oversized version of the ones single jumpers use.  This method of taking new jumpers up means much less ground school (we got a five-minute lecture) and the "trainee" gets to experience a 30-second free fall on the first jump.

As we left the plane, we did a double backward somersault, ending up in the classic arched position, facing the ground.  We did some spins, waved to the cameraman, enjoyed the view - then it was time to open the chute.  It's amazing how quickly 30 seconds goes by when you are approaching the ground at 120mph (193km/h).

When the chute opened (Thank God!), then I could really relax and enjoy the view.  Hey, what's that tiny, little dot down there?  Our landing site?  But that's ten feet (3m) in diameter!  How can it look so small?  Oh, we're still at 5000 feet.  Okay, time for some parachute maneuvers on the way down.  Then, during the landing, I had to pick my feet WAY up, because I was about ten inches taller than the Jump Master - and was positioned lower than him in the harness to begin with.  It was a perfect day.  And I think everyone should try skydiving at least once in their lifetime.