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So... I fell again.

  • So... I fell again.

    It's a bird, its a plane, no its just a baritone. So, I turned 30 a few weeks ago and what did that mean to me? It meant that I'm not in my 20s anymore so I had to give up my excuse to do stupid things. That's when one of my friends told me that 30 was the new 20. I now had my excuse back, so what did I do? I willingly jumped out of a plane. A lot of you asked questions about how management or Atlantic felt about me doing this, well, considering that there are 47 baritones in SNC, they were cool with it. Basses and Tenors are not allowed to do things like this.

    I had always wanted to go skydiving. I know its insane and I know how dangerous it is, but I just had to do it. I have to tell you all, it lives up to any description you've ever heard. Knowing how much I wanted to do this, my girlfriend made the reservation as a birthday gift. I told her that I would let her know if it was a good gift or not once I was back on the ground. Let me try to recap how the weekend went for us…

    On Saturday afternoon we set out to Solvang, CA, which is a cool little Danish town outside of Santa Barbara. We hung out there during the day just walking around and wine tasting. On my face was a smile, but on the inside I was kind of freaking out. Knowing that you are jumping out of an airplane in less than 24 hours makes you think. About everything. It makes you ask questions, for me mostly stupid questions like "What should I wear when I jump?", but questions nonetheless. Clearly I made the right decision on attire.

    I had always envisioned myself excited about the jump, but once they got me up in the air, I thought for sure that I would turn into a 2 year old girl, crying, throwing a tantrum and pleading with the people to land the plane with me still in it. I was convinced that this was exactly how I would react. Stay tuned…

    It's now Sunday morning. Had I not had all that red wine, there was no way I was sleeping on Saturday night due to the excitement and anxiety. We went to Paula's Pancake House for breakfast. Nothing like a light meal made up of pancakes, bacon and coffee before jumping out of a plane (I had the danish pancakes which are extremely thin like crepes…..and bacon). The skydiving place was about 25 minutes away, so we get in the car and take off. Upon arrival, they have me fill out some forms and watch a video. Oh, the video. If there was even a little doubt in your brain, this video scared the crap out of you. It's essentially 20 minutes of a really old super long bearded man (odd choice) repeatedly telling you that anything could happen, you could die and you cannot sue them because they don't have insurance. Very reassuring.

    There was about a 45 minute wait before we suited up and hit the skies. That 40 minutes is torture. A lot of pacing. You watch as groups of people board a plane, take off, jump out, land and come back and receive their certificate. If they can all do it, I can. So easy.

    The time comes for us to get our harnesses on. My tandem instructor was Mark. Mark was awesome and very laid back. He had already jumped a few times that day, so he's just going through his routine about how to exit the plane, where to put my hands, when to let go, etc. He says to me, "so these straps are what keep you locked in, they'll be a little tight, but let me know if they hurt". My response, "Mark, I want these straps as tight as humanly possible, I can take chest and shoulder pain better than I can take plummeting to the earth with no parachute", followed by nervous laughter.

    The most uncomfortable part of the day was when the employee that was in charge of weather came out to talk to the instructors. The winds had picked up and there was concern that it was too windy to jump. There were a few people that were doing solo jumps (non tandem) that they made stay on the ground but they said it was ok to jump for the tandems. They had this entire conversation IN FRONT of all of us. Regardless of what was actually said, this is what I heard….

    Weather person: Hey guys, its not safe to jump, its too windy. Instructors: Yeah, we agree, its definitely not safe. This will cause a ton of problems.
    Pilot: Yes, I'm not comfortable flying in this wind. I do not want to fly.
    Weather Person: Yes, lets reschedule the jumpers for another date.
    Instructors: Yes, we should definitely not jump in this weather. This is the worst weather we've ever encountered as skydiving instructors. We could drift off into the ocean, or even worse, our parachutes may not catch and the winds would cause them not to open. Well, lets get everyone on the plane and risk it!

    Awesome.

    It's time to board the plane, which was one of those tiny prop planes. The inside of the plane has no actual seats, it had 2 long benches that run the length of the plane. You sit with your back to the pilot., so as you take off you are facing the ground. We're flying into the wind, so already the plane is bouncing around a bit. I had already said about 500 prayers up until this point, so I was calm and ready. At about half way up is when Mark turned the camera on to do a quick interview. I look out and think THIS IS HALF WAY?!

    About 3 minutes later, we get to the jump zone and this was a freaky feeling. The plane literally felt like it stopped flying and was just floating there as everyone fell out. We were 2nd to last, so we had the awesome pleasure of watching people jump out of a plane; idiots. Wait, now its my turn, guess I'm an idiot too. The process of jumping out is simple. You sit on the floor of the plane and slide towards the door. Once I reached the door, my legs were dangling out of the plane and there was nothing between me and the sky. We lean back once and then lean forward far enough to fall out of the plane. Let me say that again, FALL OUT OF THE PLANE!

    We are now airborne. If you ever wanted to clear your mind, jump out of a plane. Seriously. For the entire duration of the jump, my mind could not produce a single thought. All I could do was stare at the earth and just be in awe of what was happening. There has never been a more "in the moment" moment in my life. My mind had never been this clear. We jumped from 13,000 feet, so we had a full minute free fall. What a minute. A lot of people assume that when you jump your stomach drops, as if you were riding a roller coaster. This is 100% false. When you jump, there is a cushion of air that stays under you making you feel like you are just floating. It's a crazy feeling of nothingness.

    After the free fall, the parachute opens. Mark asks if I like roller coasters, to which I respond yes, not knowing that he's about to pull down one side of the chute, which causes us to spin (what felt like uncontrollably) really fast and drop to the ground at a much faster rate. After we stop spinning, he hands over the reigns to me. I'm now steering the parachute. Considering I have zero experience doing this and there is a prison in sight, no joke, a prison, I steer for a minute and feel like I'm going to do something wrong so I hand over the reigns back to Mark. Although it would have made for a more exciting video, I didn't want to land inside the prison walls. You know what they say about how a cappella singers are treated in prison? Yeah, me neither.

    The landing was incredibly smooth, the chute kind of stalled and we hovered about a foot off the ground and then bam, we land on our feet. Mark has the camera on me and asks how it was. I literally was at a loss for words. That doesn't happen to me often. All I could offer up was "amazing" and "incredible". I went into this with 2 goals: 1. Don't pee my pants. 2. Live. I met both goals, so I was incredibly happy with this (I credit my IU Candy Striped pants).

    I spent the rest of the day on an incredible high. It truly is an experience like nothing else. If any of you are looking for something insane to do, this is it. I definitely think I will do this again, maybe from 18,000 feet next time. I wrote this because I know there are a lot of people out there that are thinking about this or just interested in the process.
    Hopefully this will give you a little insight to the experience and if any of you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Thanks for reading! 

    Seggie

Seggie_2's picture
on March 5, 2013 - 5:23pm

It's a bird, its a plane, no its just a baritone. So, I turned 30 a few weeks ago and what did that mean to me? It meant that I'm not in my 20s anymore so I had to give up my excuse to do stupid things. That's when one of my friends told me that 30 was the new 20. I now had my excuse back, so what did I do? I willingly jumped out of a plane. A lot of you asked questions about how management or Atlantic felt about me doing this, well, considering that there are 47 baritones in SNC, they were cool with it. Basses and Tenors are not allowed to do things like this.

I had always wanted to go skydiving. I know its insane and I know how dangerous it is, but I just had to do it. I have to tell you all, it lives up to any description you've ever heard. Knowing how much I wanted to do this, my girlfriend made the reservation as a birthday gift. I told her that I would let her know if it was a good gift or not once I was back on the ground. Let me try to recap how the weekend went for us…

On Saturday afternoon we set out to Solvang, CA, which is a cool little Danish town outside of Santa Barbara. We hung out there during the day just walking around and wine tasting. On my face was a smile, but on the inside I was kind of freaking out. Knowing that you are jumping out of an airplane in less than 24 hours makes you think. About everything. It makes you ask questions, for me mostly stupid questions like "What should I wear when I jump?", but questions nonetheless. Clearly I made the right decision on attire.

I had always envisioned myself excited about the jump, but once they got me up in the air, I thought for sure that I would turn into a 2 year old girl, crying, throwing a tantrum and pleading with the people to land the plane with me still in it. I was convinced that this was exactly how I would react. Stay tuned…

It's now Sunday morning. Had I not had all that red wine, there was no way I was sleeping on Saturday night due to the excitement and anxiety. We went to Paula's Pancake House for breakfast. Nothing like a light meal made up of pancakes, bacon and coffee before jumping out of a plane (I had the danish pancakes which are extremely thin like crepes…..and bacon). The skydiving place was about 25 minutes away, so we get in the car and take off. Upon arrival, they have me fill out some forms and watch a video. Oh, the video. If there was even a little doubt in your brain, this video scared the crap out of you. It's essentially 20 minutes of a really old super long bearded man (odd choice) repeatedly telling you that anything could happen, you could die and you cannot sue them because they don't have insurance. Very reassuring.

There was about a 45 minute wait before we suited up and hit the skies. That 40 minutes is torture. A lot of pacing. You watch as groups of people board a plane, take off, jump out, land and come back and receive their certificate. If they can all do it, I can. So easy.

The time comes for us to get our harnesses on. My tandem instructor was Mark. Mark was awesome and very laid back. He had already jumped a few times that day, so he's just going through his routine about how to exit the plane, where to put my hands, when to let go, etc. He says to me, "so these straps are what keep you locked in, they'll be a little tight, but let me know if they hurt". My response, "Mark, I want these straps as tight as humanly possible, I can take chest and shoulder pain better than I can take plummeting to the earth with no parachute", followed by nervous laughter.

The most uncomfortable part of the day was when the employee that was in charge of weather came out to talk to the instructors. The winds had picked up and there was concern that it was too windy to jump. There were a few people that were doing solo jumps (non tandem) that they made stay on the ground but they said it was ok to jump for the tandems. They had this entire conversation IN FRONT of all of us. Regardless of what was actually said, this is what I heard….

Weather person: Hey guys, its not safe to jump, its too windy. Instructors: Yeah, we agree, its definitely not safe. This will cause a ton of problems.
Pilot: Yes, I'm not comfortable flying in this wind. I do not want to fly.
Weather Person: Yes, lets reschedule the jumpers for another date.
Instructors: Yes, we should definitely not jump in this weather. This is the worst weather we've ever encountered as skydiving instructors. We could drift off into the ocean, or even worse, our parachutes may not catch and the winds would cause them not to open. Well, lets get everyone on the plane and risk it!

Awesome.

It's time to board the plane, which was one of those tiny prop planes. The inside of the plane has no actual seats, it had 2 long benches that run the length of the plane. You sit with your back to the pilot., so as you take off you are facing the ground. We're flying into the wind, so already the plane is bouncing around a bit. I had already said about 500 prayers up until this point, so I was calm and ready. At about half way up is when Mark turned the camera on to do a quick interview. I look out and think THIS IS HALF WAY?!

About 3 minutes later, we get to the jump zone and this was a freaky feeling. The plane literally felt like it stopped flying and was just floating there as everyone fell out. We were 2nd to last, so we had the awesome pleasure of watching people jump out of a plane; idiots. Wait, now its my turn, guess I'm an idiot too. The process of jumping out is simple. You sit on the floor of the plane and slide towards the door. Once I reached the door, my legs were dangling out of the plane and there was nothing between me and the sky. We lean back once and then lean forward far enough to fall out of the plane. Let me say that again, FALL OUT OF THE PLANE!

We are now airborne. If you ever wanted to clear your mind, jump out of a plane. Seriously. For the entire duration of the jump, my mind could not produce a single thought. All I could do was stare at the earth and just be in awe of what was happening. There has never been a more "in the moment" moment in my life. My mind had never been this clear. We jumped from 13,000 feet, so we had a full minute free fall. What a minute. A lot of people assume that when you jump your stomach drops, as if you were riding a roller coaster. This is 100% false. When you jump, there is a cushion of air that stays under you making you feel like you are just floating. It's a crazy feeling of nothingness.

After the free fall, the parachute opens. Mark asks if I like roller coasters, to which I respond yes, not knowing that he's about to pull down one side of the chute, which causes us to spin (what felt like uncontrollably) really fast and drop to the ground at a much faster rate. After we stop spinning, he hands over the reigns to me. I'm now steering the parachute. Considering I have zero experience doing this and there is a prison in sight, no joke, a prison, I steer for a minute and feel like I'm going to do something wrong so I hand over the reigns back to Mark. Although it would have made for a more exciting video, I didn't want to land inside the prison walls. You know what they say about how a cappella singers are treated in prison? Yeah, me neither.

The landing was incredibly smooth, the chute kind of stalled and we hovered about a foot off the ground and then bam, we land on our feet. Mark has the camera on me and asks how it was. I literally was at a loss for words. That doesn't happen to me often. All I could offer up was "amazing" and "incredible". I went into this with 2 goals: 1. Don't pee my pants. 2. Live. I met both goals, so I was incredibly happy with this (I credit my IU Candy Striped pants).

I spent the rest of the day on an incredible high. It truly is an experience like nothing else. If any of you are looking for something insane to do, this is it. I definitely think I will do this again, maybe from 18,000 feet next time. I wrote this because I know there are a lot of people out there that are thinking about this or just interested in the process.
Hopefully this will give you a little insight to the experience and if any of you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Thanks for reading! 

Seggie

Comments

Anna Maria Baumann's picture

Happy Belated Birthday, Seggie!!! The blog was great...I may have my son check this out...he's 33, and keeps talking about skydiving! I'm glad we actually got to see your jump...your cheeks all flappin' and everything! Thanks for taking us along for the ride! I'm deathly afraid of heights, but it wasn't bad for me at all!!!!! Now which of you guys is gonna top that???

novaracr14's picture

Loved the description! My hubby finally gave in years ago and gave me this same experience. If I win the lottery, watch out! So fun, but did you wonder if you could actually CLOSE your mouth while free falling? It's hard to do :) Glad you liked it, now who's up for topping your feat?

chipperfan's picture

Excellent description of emotions and thoughts from beginning to end! I went skydiving for the first time back in Sept '12...it was AWESOME (the one word that I couldn't stop saying lol). 13,500'....120mph free fall...& I can't wait to go again! (sometime this spring/summer)...think it'll be a yearly thing from now on.

Thanks for sharing!!

EileenR's picture

Love your descriptions. Especially, "THIS IS HALF WAY?!" because that's EXACTLY the thought I had when I watched your video on Facebook yesterday. If it makes you feel any better, none of your nervousness or second thoughts come through on the video- you look so confident and relaxed! You won't find me jumping out of a plane any time soon... no, wait- EVER- so thanks for the chance to live vicariously through your jump. Glad you are safely back on Earth with us!

amywolter's picture

oh seggie, how you inspire me!! i so want to do this!! i'm glad you had a great time and that you made it back on the ground safely!! you are not just 1 of 47 to us, you are our seggie!! this is just awesome and now off to research where i can do it close to me :)

Chaser Emilia's picture

Happy Birthday To you Seggie. Ha, what an amazing present. You're recounting of events is priceless. So glad your inner dialogue didn't talk you into not skydiving. When you were free-falling, bet you weren't thinking a bit of your age. We are NEVER to old to try new adventures. So now what is next on the Seggie list?? Oh, by the way, you are one of the 47 baritones, right?? well you are the only Seggie. So, have your adventures, but take care - always. And please share, you have a great storytelling way of writing. Need to hear from you more often. P.S. of course we noticed your IU t-shirt. Must say, IU has such loyal alumnus.

music4jesus's picture

Yay for Seggie blogs! I was just watching IU basketball, go figure. So thanks for sharing your crazy awesome experience! I had a similar experience when I went on a zipline for the first time. When you were talking about how you had to lean forward and just fall out of the plane, I was like "yep, I remember that" because I had to do the same thing! On the outside I was pretty calm, but inside I was like "OHMYDEADWIZARDGODWHATAREYOUDOING." I only had about a second of free fall, but it was incredible! I don't know if I'll ever skydive, but if I do I'll be like "well Seggie survived, so it can't be that bad." And I agree with Kellie: you're unique and very special! Even if there were a hundred baritones in SNC, we'd still be worried about you.
Glad you had fun, and once again, thanks for sharing! :) You should definitely blog more; I really enjoyed reading this.

ChaserJulie's picture

Great blog! And I can just see it now... you landing in the prison yard with your striped IU basketball pants!!

cruiserkelli's picture

Yippee!! An awesome Seggie blog!! Your storytelling is super...I felt like I was there with you! I also think I would have heard the conversation between the pilot, weather guy and instructors exactly like you did...lol. Please post more blogs...I love reading what you write. Two things I want to leave you with regarding your skydiving. 1. I never wondered what Atlantic thought about you skydiving...I wondered what your dear mom was thinking (I love your mom, by the way). You're her dear son and you can't be replaced. 2. There may be 47 other baritones in SNC, but there is only one Seggie and you are very special and important to all of us...again, you can't be replaced. Don't ever think that you are one in 47 to all of us. So happy you had fun and so, so glad you are safe!!

JerseyLou's picture

Great description of the experience! Kudos to you for not giving up on wild and crazy things. We never get too old for this! Now, I'm thinking I might have to try this!

Kristin_C's picture

Props to you, dude. PROPS TO YOU.

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