May 23, 2001, 1:02 AM
Post #1 of 30
Convincing the Family
I have made one tandem jump and can't stop thinking about it. I have saved my money for the past few months and plan to start working on my A license in about a month. My mom and paps are very worried. They think that I'm some kind of freak. Does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with this? All I want to do is skydive, so this is very important to me, I would really appreciate any and all advice. I know I'm a total newbie and some might even say a wannabe, but if you've got the time please drop me a line.
Show them the statistics on skydiving. It really is safer than driving a car, scuba diving, and many other things that people consider to be just fine for normal people. It is also safer than flying in private aircraft, hang gliding, and much safer than riding a motorcycle.
Explaining the safety procedures and not telling cutaway stories are good places to start. My family isn't thrilled about it, but they see that maniacal gleam in my eye every time I talk about skydiving so they know they'll never get me to stop. I've also explained about reserve repack cycles and emergency procedures and innovative gear like the 3-ring release system, so they're beginning to understand that skydiving acutally can be safer than many other pursuits. I think it took them a while to get past the "falling at 110 mph" aspect of the sport.
If you got video of your first jump (and if your landing was a stand-up) show it to them a few times - on my video I'm yelling and screaming and generally having more fun than any of them have had in the past 2 years, and you can tell. I also managed not to fall over on landing. Seeing how much fun I had and that you're not biffing in under round parachutes also helped bring my family around.
I made my first AFF jump on May 1st (3 weeks ago). I didn't tell anything to my family - I just showed them a few days later the video from my jump. There are still (3 weeks later) so shocked that nobody protests when I say that I will continue AFF trainig.
I think that's a good way to approach the parents.
I just said something like, "Whatever, Mom! YOU go auto racing." She does, so that kinda finished that.
Funny, my Dad does as well. So he really can't give me much grief.
I think he'll do a tandem, but I just have to get him past the waivers.
Just out of curiosity. Have you looked at other sports like auto racing in a different light since skydiving? I find I have a lot more respect, almost a kinship, with people who participate in "high risk" sports. I also find I don't like seeing bad crashes anymore. Reminds me too much of watching a skydiver hooking it in or something similar.
. I also find I don't like seeing bad crashes anymore. Reminds me too much of watching a skydiver hooking it in or something similar.
I haven't really felt the kinship with other sports yet. I think it's because I've always been turned off by "extreme" sports. It's like they (and the TV and marketing crews) are trying to convince us that we can be so much cooler if we just inject danger into our lives. (no comments from the peanut gallery, please. I know skydivers are cooler than whuffos , but not because of the danger...)
I did see a stomach-turning landing video over the weekend, as well as one of those "Alternative PLFs" - you know, Feet-Knees-Chest-Chin rather than Feet-Calves-Thigh-Hip-Back. The APLF was by one of the tandem masters that I really respect. It was the sunset load, and he got caught in a funky downdraft we think was caused by turbulence near some trees. He came in at a moderate speed, and as he flared his canopy just kept going down at the same rate. I could hear the thump from 150 yards away. He was okay though, just got the wind knocked out of him. (No pun intended.)
The TM's landing was scary because of the video I had seen the night before. An experienced jumper came in hot on a hook turn, and slammed into the bank of a drainage ditch that separates the landing area from the runway area. He did a flip OVER his slider and then his canopy caught air again and jerked him back. As he was halfway through the flip the dust cloud from the impact was already at his end cells. Luckily he survived and was conscious the entire time. He now has more pins than a bowling alley (but probably bigger balls too).
Sorry to hijack this "family comfort" thread with a nasty landing... just had to talk about it an opportunity presented itself.
Thank you all so much for your advice, I really appreciate it. By the way I'm 21, so I'm not under 18. I just dont want my family stressing all the time. I think I do need to take them to the DZ and show them some stats. If anyone has some solid figures they could send me that would be great. Thanks again.
Taking them out to the dropzone will probably help tremendously. I brought my girlfriend out to the dz and we watched all the landings and how much fun everyone was having and now she wants to do a tandem. I imagine it would work the same for your parents. All my Mom said when I told her was, "I know you've wanted to try this for years." She then wanted to know how amazing it was.
Education works wonders. I belong to a closely-knit family, & many people in my family thought I was nuts for skydiving. But after hearing me talk about the safety devices & all the training, I remember even my hyper aunt saying that at first she thought it was nuts, but now it seems to make sense. Before she heard me describe all the facts about what skydiving is REALLY like, she thought it was some crazy death wish, but after learning about it, she was able to realize skydiving is not so crazy after all.
I love all the advice but remember in the end you can just ignore then and they have to love you anyway they are family. I have this agreement with my parents that I never tell them that I am going to jump just that I have already jumped. Works for them and I can play their game.
With my parents, my mother knew that she wouldn't be able to convince me not to do it for starters. Every weekend I would come home and tell her about it and explain what I'd gone through over the weekend to get in the air in the first place - they don't just throw a rig on you and put you in the plane! You go through a fair bit of training. Once I explained this to her she started to come around. The other thing that convinced them to keep letting me jump was the simple fact that every time I got home from the DZ I was still on the buzz from my jump(s).
Statistics are good to convince them but the risk factor is always there. - They will always be worried but if you show them that you are having the time of your life and haven't been happier maybe they'll come around.
I spent a bunch of time trying to convince my family that this was less dangerous that alot of things I have done. Finally I just said "your right, its dangerous, there is absolutly no good reason to jump out of an airplane. But... when have I ever needed a good reason to do things?" Karen
I can sympathize with you - the family found it hard to take. Here I am, having the best time of my life and my folks were losing their hair (Well, maybe that's part of the fun...) Anyhow, once they saw the skydiving is now safer than scuba, they felt more comfortable... they are both scuba divers!
<FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by NewGuy on 6/4/01 05:48 PM.</EM></FONT>
Skydiving is not safer than driving. I used to think that too. But look at the numbers- Every year, about 40,000 people are killed in Auto accidents. Assuming that there are 200,000,000 drivers in the USA (a generous estimate) then that means that 1 driver out of 5000 drivers a year is killed in an auto accident. Compared to one skydiver per ever thousand skydivers that is killed every year. That makes skydiving 5 times more dangerous than driving.
However skydiving is safer than SCUBA (statistically speaking).
I compare the risks of skydiving most closely to those of driving a motorcycle.
Your logic is flawed here. There are not 200 million drivers in this country. Many people in this country don't drive for various reasons (too young/old, etc.). There are way more than 35,000 skydivers in this country. That is only the number of regular skydivers who are USPA members. Of the 4,000,000 or so skydives done each year here many are 1st and only skydives. The number of distinct jumpers is about 400k.
So, the risk per participant isn't all that different. A more relevent question is what are my chances of being killed in a jump and how many miles driven does that equate to.