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Hung 'em up...

 

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airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 14, 2005, 8:50 PM
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Hung 'em up... Can't Post

I got a call from an old jumping buddy today.

He was calling several 'ole' skydivers from the old club to say he's hanging them up after 35 plus years
in the sport.

I guess he went to the convention and quietly did number 5000...with, from what he said 'thoughts of getting out' anyway.

He's late fifties I'm guessing, still young in body & soul, has a lotta good years left to play if he
wanted to.

We talked a bit and though I don't agree with him,
I see his point.

"It's just not something I want to
be a part of anymore...It's not like it use to be.
I know times change, but the sport is more dangerous now than ever," he said.

"Nobody gives a shit anymore...
They can't spot, don't pack, won't jump if it's to hot-cold-windy-cloudy...and after watching two kids die because they couldn't pull a handle to save their own life...I'm done."

I tried the usuall~
You just need a break....
The sport will always be there...
Bla Bla Bla...

"Nope..I'm done," he said.

"I landed after number 5 grand...hook knifed all the risers and snipped the reserve cable in 1/2...
got it hanging up in my den, where it will stay forever."

I was speechless, really off guard. This guy was one of my 'heros' coming up. And it was just "over"...Unsure

Made some strained small talk for a few minutes, and he excused himself...had a few more calls to make.

I mumbled something about 'take care of yourself'
to which he came back..slow, loud and clear~

"No...I'm good, YOU take care of YOURSELF,
don't you let one of these motherfuckers kill ya...!"



The whole thing got me to wondering if I'd ever reach a point when frustration, distain...what ever...
would make me want to quit.

I always though no....


darkwing  (D 4164)

Aug 15, 2005, 5:57 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I heard the same speech from a multi-thousand jump guy in 1976. I didn't try to talk him out of it. If someone doesn't want to jump, then they shouldn't jump. It may be that he will think differently in a few years.


GreenLight  (D 18859)

Aug 15, 2005, 8:23 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking the same way. I have other interests now and it just doesn't seem worth throwing my life away for anymore. Especially to one of these little A holes who want to kill you at 100 feet.

Your friend is right. I watched yesterday as the spots got worse and worse and wondered if anyone was ever going to look out the door before they jumped again. The DZ management is sticking to thier guns on the thing where the first dummy down sets the landing pattern even if it's downwind and yet thier own SAFETY BOARD says just the opposite! When I questioned them about that they said they would just change the sign! Can you believe it?

I think I'm about done myself...


JohnRich  (D License)

Aug 15, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm wondering if I'll ever reach that point. I've been jumping for 27 years now.

I admit I have those feelings now and then, but I push them away, because I love jumping too much.

I also admit there is a cumulative effect - how many broken bodies of your friends can you visit in the hospital, how many funerals can you attend, before it gets to be too much to continue?

I've always figured I'd quit only when old age puts some limit on my physical capabilities such that it is impossible for me to continue. Will my physical condition out-last my emotions? I don't know...


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 15, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Re: [JohnRich] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always figured I'd quit only when old age puts some limit on my physical capabilities such that it is impossible for me to continue. Will my physical condition out-last my emotions? I don't know...

Quote:

Very well put John~

My thoughts exactly!


fergs  (F 383)

Aug 15, 2005, 1:03 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess that when it's time - it's just time to leave the sport.

I too, am agasp at the average jumper these days - the basic skills they fail to pick up, yet should have. Yes, spotting is a very good example. And landing safely is certainly another.

For me, I had a new lease of life 3 years ago when I discovered the wingsuit.

Now I can have a blast on my own, or in a flock with others. I can arrive at a DZ and simply slip into an unsold seat down back with no hassles trying to coordinate a group at manifest. I always carry 2 demo wingsuits - so if there are others who want to come play, their lack of a suit is no barrier (after, of course, proper training if they have not already had wingsuit experience).

The hot shots never bother me or become a danger to me at 100' - they've already landed their pocket rockets and have walked to the packing area and I'm still in free fall watching them. Now that's a good feeling... And if someone who cannot spot a load puts it out way away from home, I simple fly to the correct opening point with no problems.

So I have no reason to consider leaving the sport - but after 32 years of skyplay, I balance out with other interest and activities, keeping spousal-unit happy.

Oh yeah, my skydives are now double value - twice the freefall and half the pack jobs for my ticket.

Life is good - spread the love.

fergs
Wink


NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 15, 2005, 1:28 PM
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Re: [fergs] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

There's another really cool way to stay in your comfort zone. Just rent a Cessna, gather a few like minded old friends and go out in the desert and jump your ass off. I learned that trick from the Latins. Put another way you can take jumping as you find it, or let jumping take you.

There comes a time when the USPA, the sims, and the arguments over everything becomes nothing more than bullshit.

BTW, commercially available cat odor remover takes care of the beer stink . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


(This post was edited by NickDG on Aug 15, 2005, 1:29 PM)


GreenLight  (D 18859)

Aug 16, 2005, 5:19 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Both very good ideas. Sometimes I can't se the forest for the trees. I used to bandit jump all the time! I know LOTS of people with airplanes! What the hell was I thinking? And the wingsuit idea? PERFECT!!! I can pretend I'm a jet...Cool

Some of my friends used to belong to a little club known as the Black Flag Skydivers. Bandit Boogies! And yes our dear wonderfull Latins. I bet only about 10% of thier jumps are out of DZs... LOL! Pelone will be impressed.Wink


alw  (C 35179)

Aug 19, 2005, 6:31 PM
Post #9 of 67 (3255 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Another perspective -

I gave it up for love 30 years ago and missed it every day, quietly, introspectively, wistfully. I made other things work for fun and good times.

Now I'm back, 54, and have a few nevers in the bag. I'll probably never break 2000. I'll never swoop a 2+ wingloaded high performance canopy. Might never do a freefly bigway.

I'm already getting the "when ya gonna downsize?" from the kids at the DZ but most of it is just good natured fun. I thoroughly enjoy just diving out the door and tracking in my old guy no fire out the ass style across a little piece of sky. I love to hear the angels sing when my body position is just right and the quiet airflow across the gear has that certain whistling chord.

I pull at 4 not because I'm worried but because I like the ride. I spent the last thirty years accumulating all the jump tickets I probably couldn't have afforded back then anyway. I've had a full life up to this point and I'm really enjoying it every tomorrow.

Somebody steps down, somebody steps up. You miss what was and you wonder about what will be. There are still plenty of blank pages in the minds picture book and plenty of faded snapshots to look at when it's cold outside.

Like Satchmo said - they can't take that away from me.


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 20, 2005, 11:33 AM
Post #10 of 67 (3210 views)
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jim,
Sorry about your friend.

'Been thinkin about this thread. The thing is that the newbies are just that, newbies!! They can go upside-down and jump a teene weenie handkie all they want!! The Sport has ALWAYS been dangerous and will never be perfectly safe. Technology has given us "better" gear and neat things like AAD's but that stil doesn't make the newbie invincible!! The bottom line is like I skydive to please "ME!!!!!!!!!" I still have a bunch of friends who I can jump with no matter which DZ we're at. Let the newbies do their thing, their trench digging escapades are good for a laugh or two at beer 30. I'll just keep floatin' around under my Stileto 190 (LARGE by today's standards!!) and do standard RW (upsidedown stuff gets me dizzy unless I'm in a max-track!!) so there you have it. Ya' gotta maintain some kinda good sense of humour like Grandpaw Pettibone in the rockin' chair on the POPS Logo. Keep on keepin' on!!

AAD? What AAD??

Argh', Jim 'Harghkin'!!!!' Oh for the daze of Big Orange and White candystriped parachutes and Iron Men!!' back when women were proud of it and sheep were very, very nervous!!!!


(This post was edited by skybill on Aug 20, 2005, 11:42 AM)


steve1  (D 23640)

Aug 21, 2005, 5:51 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I quit once for close to 25 years. For months I didn't even log my jumps. I often think about what led up to my stopping and I try hard to prevent it from happening again today. I guess it was more or less a personality conflict with some club members that led up to my bagging it the first time.

I didn't think I missed it much until I made that first jump after all that time. It kind of felt like I was reborn. I was tired of settling into old age without any adventure to spice up my life, and skydiving seemed a perfect fit for what ailed me.

I was BSing with an old friend the other day. He's been jumping for over 30 years and has over 7,000 jumps. At any rate, I was surprised when he said that someday he plans to walk away from the sport and do something else. It kind of hurts when a hero of mine decides to quit something that I respect him for. But I suppose that time will come to all of us someday.

Jerry Bird was once one of his team mates. He said that one reason Jerry might have quit the sport was because of the lack of respect some newcomers had for old jumpers. Maybe that is his opinion, but I'm sure it could be a factor for some veterans quitting the sport.

Right now, I try hard to fight off those negative thoughts that affect our sport. For me the skydiving is still fun, but it doesn't have the excitement it once had. Maybe I need to try out a Bird Man suit or just find the right drop zone to jump at. Jumping with the right people can make all the difference for me.

The other day I jumped with a couple of old timers that trained me when I was a student. Neither of these guys jump much any more, but neither are ready to admit they're too old to do it any more. There wasn't any great relative work that took place on that jump. But I think it may have been one of the funnest jumps that I made this summer. There was tons of joking around. Old stories were told and laughed at. On jump run I almost had to roll old Jim out on the step because he was so old he had a hard time getting out there. And we even turned a few points in free fall, and even had good landings. Then it was beer time. Good will and acceptance was felt by all...Jumpers like these keep the sport alive for me.....Steve1


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 21, 2005, 6:43 PM
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Re: [steve1] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Steve 1,
A big 10-4 to you. Whether it was a factor or not about newbie's lack of respect for older jumpers that contributed to Jerry B's quitting is a moot point. However, newbie's lack of respect for old timers in this or any other sport has more to do with the attitude of newbies in question than any thing else. Not all newbies are that callous but the ones that are think they are immortal and forget that Old Father Time waits for no man and their day may only be a wake up away!!!


Tink1717  (D 12524)

Aug 21, 2005, 9:16 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in the sport for 6 years, out for 8, been back for 4. The time I was out sucked. There wasn't a day gone by that I didn't miss it. That being said, I would never second guess anyone's decision to get out. If someone has no desire to jump, then the last place they should be is a DZ. I hear the same complaints from those who have much more time in the sport than I do, and, for the most part, I agree. There is a dramatic increase of new jumpers who lack basic and essential skills (packing and spotting come to mind first). This, combined with the new ways the technology has devised to kill us and the seeming blind eyes of safety officers can be disheartening. However, I find none of the current conditions of the sport to be unmanageable. I can opt out of any jump/DZ/jumper, that I feel isn't right (for any reason). I can show up, or not show up, at any DZ on any day. I can land far and walk long and I can ignore any 100 jump wonder. Maybe down the road I will change, but for now, the rewards of jumping FAR outweigh not jumping.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 22, 2005, 1:22 AM
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Re: [Tink1717] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This, combined with the new ways the technology has devised to kill us

I think this should read "the ways we use new technology to kill ourselves."Unsure

Sparky


GreenLight  (D 18859)

Aug 22, 2005, 5:09 PM
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Re: [mjosparky] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

OK This is to all you guys and in response to all the other reasons people have given for wanting to get out of the sport. I really don't want to quit skydiving. I want to quit jumping at airports where they tell you that the newbies with the hot little hankies get to decide the landing pattern even if you get out before they do. I refuse to land downwind on purpose,,, End of story...

I'm getting old, my knees are week and my flying boat with strings on it won't fly as fast as the hankies.

If the majority of the jumpers wanna land downwind most of the time then they should reserve another landing area for one or the other. And not in the dirt for us old guys. And let's face it... Studunts are landing into the wind, (at least while on student status) Tandems are going to land into the wind no matter who lands first, why can't I? WHY OH WHY CANT I!!!

Canopy swooping is a whole nother sport in itself. It should have it's own designated landing area and pattern...

If we can have a DC9 and a Wind Tunnel, we can afford a little more grass. If they don't change? They don't get my money anymore. Skydive Elsinore lost more than a few jumpers when they threw some of us Air Trash members outta there. (although we have traitors amongst us who jump there occasionaly) (That's a joke son) I don't care who jumps there. But the thing is that they made a bad business decision and lost some income. That's the bottom line. I know it won't break them but I'll be dammed if I'm gonna jump anywhere that tells you yhat you gotta do somethng more dangerous than normal operations on purpose.... Landing down wind is more dangerous than landing into the wind and no one can change that. I feel safe enough in the sport the way I was trained that I think I have a pretty good chance of dying from liver disease or a car wreck rather than jumping. But the swoopers have taken a lot of the safety out of the sport. There's even a guy HERE who's sig line reads;

If you can't die doing it, it's not a sport

That says it all folks. We got away from the sport death thing when we dropped low pull contests.

Don't these guys read these boards? IS ANYONE LISTENING OUT THERE? I even went to the management through the S&TA... So far nothing. But there is still hope. I'll let you know what happens.


akarunway  (A 143885)

Aug 22, 2005, 9:32 PM
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Re: [GreenLight] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

"Landing down wind is more dangerous than landing into the wind and no one can change that." ________________________________________________ My last jump in my log book.(3 yrs ago) Elsinore. " Sit exit, stand 1000', altimiter almost came off, hard pull, had to pull twice, 1 line twist followed by everyone landing downwind, ASSHOLES, found the only piece of asphalt past the grass when I had to swoop over the LOWER ASSHOLE that cut me off and stalled at 20'". Rental gear. No more. Just bought a new rig, FINALLY, and now need to find a safe place to jump it. Perris was a nitemare last w/e. Went out there to watch last w/e. Scary shit. Downwind cityUnsure


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 22, 2005, 9:40 PM
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Re: [skybill] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh for the daze of Big Orange and White candystriped parachutes and Iron Men!!

Quote:

HELL YEAH!

"WE" dug our trenches VERTICALLY!Sly


scrublink  (D 21240)

Aug 23, 2005, 6:35 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned from a bunch of oltimers like this. Going to the dropzone for the weekend was what they did and so did I. Two or three jumps was a good day. Drinking and telling the same old stories around the fire was a good night. Everybody got along. Even when you had a beef with someone it would last a couple weeks tops.
Now its all about jump numbers and who can swoop the furthest, fastest or with the most style. My spousal unit jumps also. One day when I was on a working jump, one of the nebies walked up to her and told her about how proud the were of my progress. I was jumping when he was still shitting green.
Every now and then I get the same thoughts about stopping. I don't know what I would do with all the free time. I still drive (2 hours each way) to the DZ every day that I have off. Jumpable or not. Sometimes we just sit there if the winds are too hig for common sense and watch the organ donors jump.
I enjoy some of the new technology and not against progress, but I never would've thought that all of the work that the old timers did and all the kinks they helped work out of the sport would amount to so little respect with the new kids.

Still a newbie after 19 years.


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 23, 2005, 8:27 PM
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Re: [scrublink] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was jumping when he was still shitting green...


Quote:

Shittin' mustard in three corner pants...is the line I tell them!Wink

Sounds like you & I started in the same kind of place, my buddy that's quitting was the hardcore accuri guy we ALL looked up to.

It was some years back, but I still remember him telling a 'hot shoe' that was critical of him...

"I have more Dead Centers than you do skydives!"
....always loved THAT line!Sly


bozo  (D 10154)

Aug 23, 2005, 8:38 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

It was some years back, but I still remember him telling a 'hot shoe' that was critical of him...

"I have more Dead Centers than you do skydives!"
....always loved THAT line!Sly--------------------------------------------------------
I have a real good longtime buddy named Kirk Bastian.."Bounce" to his friends, that uses a similar line on the noobs. "I have 2000 more round jumps than you have jumps total"....and he does.

Me I just normally tell 'em to get the f**k away from me. :o)


bozo


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Aug 23, 2005, 9:29 PM
Post #21 of 67 (2961 views)
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Re: [bozo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It was some years back, but I still remember him telling a 'hot shoe' that was critical of him...

"I have more Dead Centers than you do skydives!"
....always loved THAT line!Sly
--------------------------------------------------------
I have a real good longtime buddy named Kirk Bastian.."Bounce" to his friends, that uses a similar line on the noobs. "I have 2000 more round jumps than you have jumps total"....and he does.

Me I just normally tell 'em to get the f**k away from me. :o)


bozo
I just tell them come back when and if they survive 15 years in the sport and we can talk again.Cool Most of them will be dead or gone within 5 or 6 years.

Sparky


woodpecker  (C 106098)

Aug 24, 2005, 1:03 AM
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Re: [mjosparky] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've enjoyed reading these threads and sad to see one of the old timers go. One less opportunity for me to jump with one of the true "skygods" and learn something from experience. I do hope that all of the experience doesnt get such a bad taste in their mouth from "hot shot newbies" that you shut us all out. I'm always looking for advice, and experience to jump with. You only learn from those that can teach.


TFFTM  (D 29333)

Aug 24, 2005, 8:09 AM
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Re: [scrublink] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel very fortunate to have learned at a small Cessna DZ here in Alabama. No frills, but great friends and tutors. We still learn to spot and pretty much get graded on it every time. Graded may not be the right word Wink We land into the wind not with it. If we need to adjust the landing pattern we adjust it, and everyone is safe.
We treat everyone from thier first day there as family. We sit around and tell the same old lies and, depending on the amount of beer, probably some new ones. I love to sit and listen to some of our older members talk about some of the things they pulled, stories of the Cotton Belt Conference, Little make shift DZs and traveling all over the South to jump. I know that my jumping experiences have been enriched by these souls and I dread the day they decide to hang it up. All I can hope is that I take some of there values, methods, and the balls to "Do The Right Thing" with me to the next generation of jumpers.
Thanks Guys.... Smile


cutaway1  (C 3355)

Aug 24, 2005, 6:52 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've really enjoyed reading all of the preceding threads. The repetition over the years of Funerals, ambulances, and medivac helicopters do get to be old and hurtful. But, I knew after making my first jump at 16 that I would be doing this for the rest of my life, because the experience is simply magical, out of this world, unlike anything else. Even solo jumps are a gass, much more tranquil and serene. I believe I have just as much fun now as I did at 16, I was fortunate when I began because I was surrounded by all kinds of really good, colorful, and helpful friends. It amazes me now, instead of being the young guy at the dz, I'm now one of the old guys, and while jumping I still feel that youthful exuberance. Where else can a person almost 60 go out and play hard with 20 years olds and still be competitive. At our dz we have several people that didn't even begin jumping until they were in their 50's, we all get along well, have good comraderie, and great times. One of my best friends who had also been jumping for decades with thousands of jumps, simply hung it up about 5 years ago, I think he got spooked by a close call. It's really to bad. He drinks now more than ever. Sometimes if you consider jumping from a certain perspective, it is just plain nuts. But I suppose that is where part of the magic comes from, defying logic, taking risk with your life for the pure fun of it. Despite the politics, it is still really a big fun awesome beautiful adventure for me. I feel very fortunate to still be able to jump. And I won't stop until I have to.
Aloha to you all,
Tim


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 24, 2005, 7:55 PM
Post #25 of 67 (2858 views)
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Re: [cutaway1] Hung 'em up... [In reply to] Can't Post

It amazes me now, instead of being the young guy at the dz, I'm now one of the old guys,

Quote:

Tim~

You may have me by a decade, but I too find myself wondering when 'THAT' happened?! Shocked

....Your comments bring to mind a recent discussion I was having with some friends.
Could it be we're going to be the last generation of 'old timers' in the hard core sense?

Because of the very things you described, the memories we have, the comradeship, having gone through the 'weird' times together so to speak.

The newbies or 'tourists' as they're sometimes refered to...have a different frame of reference and 'may' not be stuck for life...

Then again there WAS a lotta beer going down during the discussion.....just like the 'good ole dayz'!Wink


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