|It's raining skydivers|
Rob can surprise you though, and that is one thing I learned. While not a risk taker per se, Rob does enjoy activities like mountain biking, he's not afraid of heights, he likes to snorkel, he likes to go camping, and though he doesn't seek out danger for some sort of "high", he also doesn't back down from things out of fear. He doesn't do this because he wants to be seen as "a tough guy", he is genuinely interested in things that might be a bit out of the ordinary for most people and will take advantage of trying those things if the opportunity arises. I swear, if going to the moon was a reality for him at this point in his life, he'd do it.
|Joe and Rob showing off "Tandem Style"|
Let me back up a bit here; my brother-in-law's fiance said my brother-in-law, Joe, wanted to go skydiving for his birthday. She asked me if I thought Rob would be interested in going along. Initially, I thought there was no way Rob would want to go but to my surprise, after talking to him, he said he wanted to go. I must admit it here and now, I was a little freaked out. We have four children, he has a wonderful life, not to mention the fact that he has me, why would he ever feel this crazy urge to go skydiving? Remember, it's something he had never-ever even showed any remote interest in up until that point.
|Rob checking out the sky he'd be falling from|
|Scout imagining what Joe would look like during the dive|
The safety statistics, according to the United States Parachute Association, are quite interesting:
- With 3.1 million skydiving jumps in 2012, there were 19 fatalities.
- USPA reported that with 3.1 million jumps in 2012, there were 915 injuries. That statistic means there are around three injuries per 10,000 dives.
- Most injuries are caused by human error, not because the parachutes fail (which was my biggest fear).
- Each year, because of better training and technology, skydiving only improves and becomes safer.
|Random Skydiver and Jet|
Allowing myself to be educated about skydiving worked. I had faced the facts and realized, though I personally have zero interest in skydiving, I couldn't stand in the way of Rob's skydive. If I were to do that, I would also have to stand in his way of driving to work each day because of the statistics about car accidents.
When we arrived at Skydive Dallas, I realized there was nothing to worry about. People skydiving into the drop zone was at a constant while we waited for Rob and Joe to go on their dive. The entire thing ran like clockwork and the people who work there take safety seriously, but still have fun.
Time to Suit Up!
Two (seemingly) worrisome issues of note while we waited were:
- The man sitting next to us that had a broken arm and leg. He went skydiving in the morning and had landed badly, breaking his arm and leg. He was there waiting while his friends jumped. He was from a big group of people from Sweden who come to Dallas every year to go skydiving all day.
- During one of the rounds of jumps, we saw a lone parachute gently falling through the air with no diver attached.
Finally, it was Rob and Joe's turn to go up. It was strange, but I wasn't even a tad bit nervous. I was actually excited! At an altitude of 13,500 feet, Rob had a 60 second free-fall. After landing, Rob said it was truly awesome. With a huge smile on his face, he stated without hesitation, "It wasn't anything like I expected."
|The plane approaches|
|The tiny black speck is Rob and his tandem instructor, the even tinier white speck is the camera man|
|Rob (blue, white, and black) and Joe (yellow)|
|Rob coming in for a landing|
|Look at that face!|
|Joe's turn to land|
|Happy to see his fiance|
Oh, and Rob has a new convert to skydiving...Jude. Right after Rob landed, Jude came up to me and whispered, "I think I want to skydive." The old me would've tried to talk her out of it, the new me smiled and told her she'd get to do it for her 18th birthday.