This post is one part sharing my dreams, one part boogie review, one part tribute to Steve Jobs and one part big announcement. So get your party pants on, peeps.
As far as my skydiving career goes, I have big dreams. BIG dreams. As in the kind of dreams that I don’t really want to vocalize because if they don’t happen, I’ll be all kinds of vulnerable and possibly look like a total asshat for even vocalizing them.
There are two facets of skydiving that I want to experience and be really really good at. The instructional side and the competitive side. I want to earn my AFF rating and I want to be on a 4-way formation skydiving team. And I want to kick ass at both of these.
I want to rock on the instructional side for the sheer fact that I was blessed with some amazing instructors when I was in AFF. I am wicked excited for the day that I can work with a student and have them have one of those lightbulb moments we all have in the early days of skydiving. You know, when you’re on Level 4 and you keep turning and keep turning and keep turning and then suddenly, you stop. Like that.
I want to rock the house on a 4-way FS team because it’s freaking amazing to watch, and I’ve heard that being on a team is single-handedly one of the best ways to get better in the sky. Flying with the same people all the time, rocking formations, turning points, training in the tunnel, growing as a skydiver and a person… I like all of it. And I want to do this. Badly.
For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you probably noticed all of the ridiculously positive and mushy posts about how much I was loving Elsinore and the Chicks Rock boogie. It was such an amazing event. Allow me to gush a little bit about how much I adore that place.
This boogie blew my mind.
First of all, what’s not to love about southern California? Skydive Elsinore is cuddled up behind the Ortega mountains in Lake Elsinore, California. As the name of the city would suggest, there is a huge lake, which makes for a gorgeous skydiving backdrop. Lake, mountains, ocean, blue skies? Done and done. The dropzone is about 70-ish miles from both LA and San Diego, which is exciting because there are two major cities to explore pretty close to the DZ.
The dropzone itself is like a resort. Seriously. It’s gorgeous. The staff is super friendly, the jumpers are super friendly, and the facilities kind of blew my mind a little bit. Team rooms. Classrooms. Offices. A gigantic packing area. A bar. A cafe. A SquareOne gear store. It’s nuts.
There were plenty of load organizers to choose from. Back to the skydiving goals. The eight skydives I made at Chicks Rock were eight of the best skydives of my career so far. The talent of the local jumpers and organizers was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The skydives I was on actually worked. Everyone was smiling in freefall. Everyone landed and we all high five’d. Everyone thanked each other for the opportunity to be a part of that specific jump. If something got messed up, it was fixed quickly and it wasn’t some finger-pointing game in the landing area or on the packing mat. Everyone was so damn friendly. All smiles, no pouting. It was great.
As a new skydiver with 200 jumps, I walked in there totally excited for the possibilities that the weekend would present. The chance to jump with world champions. The parties. The dropzone itself. The opportunity to meet as many new people as humanly possible and make new friends. It just felt so right.
On Monday, after the boogie had wrapped up Sunday night, I went to the wind tunnel at Skydive Perris with John Hamilton. John is one of the owners of Skydive Elsinore and had mentioned the night before that he was going to be coaching a girl from Israel who came out with three of her friends for the boogie. He asked if I wanted to join.
Um, hello, duh, yes. How often would I have the chance to fly in the Perris tunnel with a world champion? I didn’t know the answer but my guess was that this opportunity wouldn’t present itself very often.
Let me just stop right here and say that the 15-minute block I did with John was hands down the best tunnel training I’ve ever received. Not to say that it was “better” than the other hour and a half I’ve done, but it was definitely different. Flying with someone who has over 17,000 skydives and has won a world championship is very, very different than flying with someone who learned how to skydive in the tunnel. Or someone who skydives but is also a tunnel instructor. This session made me realize that I’m quite capable of being coached – in that when he was correcting my body position or different moves, I fixed them quickly. I’ve heard you can teach someone to skydive, but you can’t teach them passion or how to learn quickly. So it seems I’ve got two out of the three.
In light of Steve Jobs passing yesterday, I would like to share my favorite quote from him, which he delivered during his speech at Stanford’s Commencement in 2005.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
I’ve referred to this quote many times, usually when a big decision is looming and I need a reminder that following my heart is okay. That the naysayers are just that, naysayers, and they shouldn’t take away from the drive and the passion that I have as I embark on this unconventional path I’m on.
Things are moving. 3Ring Media has a logo and I had stickers made to plaster all over skydiving helmets everywhere. And super badass chicks like Melanie Curtis (hey sis!) and Carolyn Chow (love you girl) are sporting them on their helmets. I kind of happy cried inside when I saw those girls in the plane with me and donning 3Ring stickers.
There is so much happening right now I kind of want to squeal. Like that super-annoying squeal that girls tend to do when they haven’t seen their best friend in awhile and then they run at each other, squealing and hugging and dancing and bouncing up and down. Like that.
Which, leads me to the big announcement of sorts. After this insane experience at Elsinore, we (me and the boy) have decided to move out west. We’ll be moving out to Skydive Elsinore after the season wraps up here at CSC.
I can’t wait to see how much I can progress in this sport, how much I can actually learn, how much I can mentally push out the negative thoughts about my skills, thoughts that have been pushed into my head from a handful of people that probably thought they were “helping” when really, they were hurting. I can’t wait to push those out and focus on the positive, to embrace the learning curve. I can’t wait to go to Elsinore and be a sponge and just absorb the good vibes and sweet education that is available out there. I can’t wait to jump my freaking face off and get to the point where I can start giving back to this amazing community in this incredible sport that has helped raise me to be the Sydney I am today.
Dan BC, a world champion skydiver several times over, asked two very important questions in his TEDxFlanders speech about how he came to be a world champion skydiver.
Is it possible for me to succeed?
Do I want it badly enough to do what it’s going to take to make it happen?
Yes it is. And yes I do. Will I be a national champion someday? Will I be a world champion someday? Those two questions will remain unanswered at this point, but I definitely want to be on a team badly enough to make this first step happen. You can’t compete without a team. So, first things first, let’s do this.
And hello, CALIFORNIA! No more winters! Mountains! Lakes! Oceans! Happiness!