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Jak3slice

Family and friends advice

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Hi, definitely new to skydiving only 14 jumps. Curious to how others dealt with family and friends insisting that you have a death wish. I realize that skydiving is dangerous but I definitely take each jump with all precautions and know that it is a little (lot) risky. Lately though I try not to talk about my hobby to most people because they assume it’s some certain death.

Was informed I’d lose some friends on this venture but holy crap people have straight up asked about it only to say I’m a retard!??  

I’ve had the time of my life but curious how others have dealt with this?

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If their opinions are important enough to go to the trouble:-

Invite these people to spend a day at the DZ.

Let them chat to other 'family and friends', as well as other jumpers.

Perhaps walk them through the various areas - training, packing, manifest.

From the ground, talk them through a jump - show the aircraft running in, the exits, the openings, the pattern, the landings.

 

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All death is certain. I would rather have fun the way I want to between now and then. Let them talk all they want. Certain people are just easier to cut out though if they bother you enough. No need to hang out with people that insult you without knowing or even trying to learn the subject. Even just a little bit, some people need to put down others just to feel elevated and I don’t have time for those people in my life. On the plus side you’ll have more time to hang with your new sky friends. 

 

I could be completely wrong and there is something seriously wrong with us though. I mean we are jumping out of a plane. All the other voices in my head don’t seem to think there is anything wrong with it.

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The response I give depends on who (and how important they are in my life).

The casual friends are simply informed that they are completely clueless about the reality of the sport.
"How much do you really know about it? Are you basing your judgement on what you've seen in movies and on TV?"

 

Closer friends and family get the facts and statistics: 13 deaths in the US last year, about as dangerous as riding a motorcycle, choices that I make (canopy size, AAD, RSL, types of jumps) have a huge effect on the risk, lots of folks make thousands of jumps and retire from the sport, ect.

Really close people get an invitation to the DZ. "Come out and see for yourself what it's really like." Erroll's post about the activities at the DZ cover it well. 

 

Kind of funny that you bring this up now. I got my first jumps of the season in on Saturday. I finally brought my mom out to the DZ I currently jump at. She loved to come up when the DZs were closer (about 1/2 hour drive). But the two local DZs are now closed, and the one I currently jump at is 2 hours away. So I typically go down Friday afternoon or early Saturday and spend the weekend in a tent. She asked a few times to go if I was just going for a single day, but it hadn't happened until last weekend. She had a ball. She'd never seen that many canopies in the air at once before (old DZs were 182s, new place has an Otter). Everyone from the manifest babes to the fun jumpers to the DZO and his wife were very friendly and welcoming. One thing she absolutely loves about the DZ (this one and the previous ones) is how open and welcoming everyone is.

Since it was Mother's Day weekend, the DZ offered discounted tandems or free observer rides to the moms. She understands how the Otter descends, so she declined. 

Mom was a bit apprehensive about me jumping, but understood that life is a risk. She had come out to the old Wolf River when I would go up there after a long weekend - We'd leave some of the student rigs unpacked and I would go up on a Monday or Tuesday and pack them up. She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the mostly deserted airport. She finally (after me jumping for 6 or 7 years) came out to see people jumping one day when I was flying the plane. I invited her saying 'I won't be jumping, so you won't have to worry about that'. She saw the joy and exuberance of the guys jumping and decided to come out again to watch when I was jumping. She again had a blast watching us and from then on would come out and watch on a regular basis. One of her favorite things was seeing the first time tandem students. She loved how they would walk in nervous and apprehensive, with the fear increasing as they went through training and getting harnessed up, then walking out to the plane. And then, the joy on their faces, in their voices and all that after they got back down. She's never jumped (age and health issues), but has a pretty good understanding of the joy it brings.

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Put one crab in a pan, it can easily climb out.  Add more crabs to the pan, and when one begins its escape, the others pull it back into the pan.  From the Wikipedia article on "Crab Mentality:"  

'The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to reduce the self-confidence of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, resentment, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.'

Strangely,  I never experienced this to any significant degree in my skydiving career (professional and personal) - perhaps because of its military origin.  I did, however experience this to the nth degree with a serious life decision I made a few years ago. Countless "friends" and acquaintances called, emailed, texted, stopped by to tell me why it was a wrong decision.  I can't think of a single one of them that I am still in touch with.  One good friend warned me that was going to happen (we are friends to this day).  Two others asked me - once - if I had taken the time to think it through and if I was sure.  My affirmative response was good enough - they supported me completely after that and we remain the closest of friends.

Strong opposers likely do not understand the sport or the motivation behind your participation.  In may opinion, you don't owe them and explanation nor do you have to defend yourself.  Acknowledge the risk, place high value on training and methodical progression, currency, proficiency, and mitigating the risk.  We all know that across the bridge of risk lies a great reward - it's different for everyone, but I applaud your choice to seize it.

It will be a shame not to be able to share your experiences with those who have already called them to question, but you can always share them here :ph34r:

Blue Skies, Fair Winds, and Safe Arrivals, Mate.

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23 minutes ago, wolfriverjoe said:

The response I give depends on who (and how important they are in my life).

The casual friends are simply informed that they are completely clueless about the reality of the sport.
"How much do you really know about it? Are you basing your judgement on what you've seen in movies and on TV?"

 

Closer friends and family get the facts and statistics: 13 deaths in the US last year, about as dangerous as riding a motorcycle, choices that I make (canopy size, AAD, RSL, types of jumps) have a huge effect on the risk, lots of folks make thousands of jumps and retire from the sport, ect.

Really close people get an invitation to the DZ. "Come out and see for yourself what it's really like." Erroll's post about the activities at the DZ cover it well. 

 

Kind of funny that you bring this up now. I got my first jumps of the season in on Saturday. I finally brought my mom out to the DZ I currently jump at. She loved to come up when the DZs were closer (about 1/2 hour drive). But the two local DZs are now closed, and the one I currently jump at is 2 hours away. So I typically go down Friday afternoon or early Saturday and spend the weekend in a tent. She asked a few times to go if I was just going for a single day, but it hadn't happened until last weekend. She had a ball. She'd never seen that many canopies in the air at once before (old DZs were 182s, new place has an Otter). Everyone from the manifest babes to the fun jumpers to the DZO and his wife were very friendly and welcoming. One thing she absolutely loves about the DZ (this one and the previous ones) is how open and welcoming everyone is.

Since it was Mother's Day weekend, the DZ offered discounted tandems or free observer rides to the moms. She understands how the Otter descends, so she declined. 

Mom was a bit apprehensive about me jumping, but understood that life is a risk. She had come out to the old Wolf River when I would go up there after a long weekend - We'd leave some of the student rigs unpacked and I would go up on a Monday or Tuesday and pack them up. She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the mostly deserted airport. She finally (after me jumping for 6 or 7 years) came out to see people jumping one day when I was flying the plane. I invited her saying 'I won't be jumping, so you won't have to worry about that'. She saw the joy and exuberance of the guys jumping and decided to come out again to watch when I was jumping. She again had a blast watching us and from then on would come out and watch on a regular basis. One of her favorite things was seeing the first time tandem students. She loved how they would walk in nervous and apprehensive, with the fear increasing as they went through training and getting harnessed up, then walking out to the plane. And then, the joy on their faces, in their voices and all that after they got back down. She's never jumped (age and health issues), but has a pretty good understanding of the joy it brings.

That’s rad, definitely trying to get my dad out to the DZ one day. Same boat as you it’s about 2 1/2 hours if traffic is good though. Maybe one of these days this summer. Seeing the tandems is one of my favorite things to watch I definitely know that terror/ fear switch to shear joy lol.

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My mom was very much not happy about my decision to skydive. I was a single parent at the time, so I guess she did have a point.  It took a few years and a lot of me telling her that I am a very conservative jumper, but eventually she learned enough about what I was doing and how I was doing it to be (mostly) comfortable with the whole thing.  She has been to dz's to watch many times since. Unfortunately she is not physically able to do a tandem, but she would if she could.

Most people think it's cool and want to know how they can do it.  When someone says I am crazy, I reply "Yes. Yes I am. And your point would be?"  ;-) The whole death wish thing?  I tell them it's a living life thing and leave it at that.  

 You will lose friends because you are a skydiver. But you will gain an extended family because you are a skydiver.  Seems a fair trade off to me. :-D  

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4 hours ago, Jak3slice said:

That’s rad, definitely trying to get my dad out to the DZ one day. Same boat as you it’s about 2 1/2 hours if traffic is good though. Maybe one of these days this summer. Seeing the tandems is one of my favorite things to watch I definitely know that terror/ fear switch to shear joy lol.

One way to do it to make it easier for him is to do what I did - Take him out on a day you won't be jumping. That would give him the opportunity to 'take in' the atmosphere and attitudes of the DZ without any anxiety about you. Given the drive time, that may not be realistic. 
Observer rides are also cool. Depending on your dad's willingness and the plane they fly, it might be an option. Keep in mind that Otters and King Airs often descend as rapidly as possible. Near vertical dives are common. He may or may not be willing to endure that. My mom declined the offer of a ride for that reason. Skyvans & 182s descend much more gently.

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On 5/14/2019 at 9:19 AM, skybytch said:

My mom was very much not happy about my decision to skydive. I was a single parent at the time, so I guess she did have a point.  It took a few years and a lot of me telling her that I am a very conservative jumper, but eventually she learned enough about what I was doing and how I was doing it to be (mostly) comfortable with the whole thing.  She has been to dz's to watch many times since. Unfortunately she is not physically able to do a tandem, but she would if she could.

Most people think it's cool and want to know how they can do it.  When someone says I am crazy, I reply "Yes. Yes I am. And your point would be?"  ;-) The whole death wish thing?  I tell them it's a living life thing and leave it at that.  

 You will lose friends because you are a skydiver. But you will gain an extended family because you are a skydiver.  Seems a fair trade off to me. :-D  

Yeah it’s funny one of my Grandmas is the most supportive, although she would never even consider a jump. Blows my mind that my roommates who dirt bike/ rock crawl (rock buggys) and race cars claim that skydiving is sketchy (definitely is a little) but I’ve had friends die in the other sports we partake in, even still knowing the risk. I’m just sick of the reminders of Eric Roner or whomever. I take great precautions and read the Uspa manual during work breaks lol I’m over preparing for a malf I’m always trying to learn as much as I can.

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13 hours ago, Jak3slice said:

I’m always trying to learn as much as I can.

 Skydiving is one of those sports in which you can always learn something new, no matter how long you've been jumping. Keep coming at it with a beginner's mind like you are now and I'd put money on you going as far as you want in the sport. :)  

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I had a very bad time with my parents, but eventually they accepted my activity. After a few years when you are still alive, they see it is no different than for example bike riding, scubadiving etc.

It is something you just have to deal with it. Most people see it as certain death and a selfish act. Which at the end it is. Skydiving is selfish towards the people you love and who care for you... but so is their necessity to restrict you in doing something you love.

You just have to be laid back, non conflicting, patient and it will go away. They will accept what you do.

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