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aguila

skydivers voluntarily quitting the sport?

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Yes. While I will totally admit that money is a huge factor there are a lot of other issues. Here are some of mine, in no particular order.
1. I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I just didn't (and will never have) enough money to be good. I know its possible to just chill and have fun, but my own competitive nature wanted a damn medal, and it was just never going to happen. There are definitely exceptions to this rule (and they are a huge inspiration) but for the most part money plays a huge role in how far you go in the sport.

2. I noticed how quickly my "friends" disappeared when I stopped jumping. Not all of them, of course, and when I cross paths with my former mates they are always super friendly but I really was sad at how quickly my social schedule cleared out while I made new friends (especially since I fall into the category of social retard). Other recovering skydivers have shared similar experiences with me.

3. I got tired of watching people die under perfectly good canopies. Guess what? I still had to attend multiple memorials this summer for this #$%^. I know the whole "he/she-died-doing-what-he/she-loved" argument seems romantic but (and I apologize in advance for being offensive) I think its poop. Maybe I should just say that I don't relate well to people who think showing off under a small canopy or getting an adrenaline rush is more important than friends, family, and (especially) kids. I've seen the faces of the kids left behind. I don't want to do that anymore.

4. The best dropzones are all seasonal. Got tired of moving (1st world problems ;)).

5. The carbon footprint. Its insane. This might actually be #1. Who am I to put my own desire to have fun above the needs of everyone and everything else on earth? I'm a science major and I'm a huge fan of nature; I really think our planet is an amazing gift and I would like to contribute less to screwing it up. Airplanes, unfortunately, have a HUGE carbon footprint. Quick, someone invent me something solar powered so I can come back ;)

6. DZ owners are nuts. Really, really nuts. I understand this-dealing with skydivers could make a Buddhist monk yell "Shut the $%^& up"-but dealing with a DZO reminds me a little too much of my childhood. A combination of waiting to get smacked or yelled at and wondering who is going to screw with your room when you're away. I absolutely do not miss the sound of a certain lunatic DZO banging on the door of my rented room at 5 am to yell at me because someone left a toaster on. Hells no.

7. Working in the sport. I'm weird because I actually ADORE packing. It appeals to my inner Rain Man. You have to pay attention to detail, you have to get things done FAST, and its repetitive. I freaking love it. I do not, however, love the drama of the packing mat. Strippers are less dramatic than a packer who has been "wronged." The politics of working in the sport are truly astounding and exhausting. That said, I will admit that I miss it:$. Anyone want a pack job?

8. The anxiety. It felt like the more I jumped the more I knew I didn't know shite. I'm a worrier anyway, so this particular aspect of my personality did not mesh well with the sport.

That's probably most of them. I think I miss more things than I don't miss. Where's that thread? Y'all should start a forum thread for recovering skydivers. We can network and go places and not jump. I'm throwing a boogie with no planes-I bet the weather will be AMAZING.

Wait, I remember another thing:

9. WAITING FOR CLOUDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peace and love, yo. Be safe and have fun.>:(

Just keep swimming...just keep swimming....

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You make a lot of valid points but I don't like what you say about your point #5 re the carbon footprint.

You say it might be #1. That's very passive-aggressive and I don't have a lot of respect for passive-aggressive.

If you think the carbon footprint is #1 then put it #1.
"It's hard to have fun at 4-way unless your whole team gets down to the ground safely to do it again!"--Northern California Skydiving League re USPA Safety Day, March 8, 2014

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Your "SOCIAL RETARD" comment is completely valid. Not all skydivers are social retards but many are, including myself. I have been saying this for years. Take a look around the DZ and you will see that you are in the LAND OF MIS FIT TOYS. Good luck with your skydiving withdraws.

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I am VERY socially awkward, and actually quite clumsy. I never played sports, although I danced. For some reason I can dance pointe ballet, but put a pair of normal shoes on my feet and I cannot walk for the life of me.

While I respect the points made above, they do not compute in my life.
Skydiver Survivor; Battling Breast Cancer one jump at a time. DX June 19th 2014
I have been jumping since October 5th 2013.
https://pinkribbonskydiver.wordpress.com/

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SivaGanesha

You make a lot of valid points but I don't like what you say about your point #5 re the carbon footprint.

You say it might be #1. That's very passive-aggressive and I don't have a lot of respect for passive-aggressive.

If you think the carbon footprint is #1 then put it #1.



Good on you for showing him he's not the only social retard in the sport.

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I thought I'd be in the sport forever. My first jump was my 16th birthday present in 1962. It was at Orange, MA and my instructor/jumpmaster was Lew Sanborn, D-1. I earned my Gold Wings in 1971 and my Diamond Wings in 1976. I was a meteorologist at Tampa's NBC affiliate Channel 8 (RW pioneer Jim Hooper was a writer at the station) and life was good. I had just won the Florida Parachute Council Overall Men's Championship for the third year in a row.

The woman to whom I was married at the time got transferred to Washington, DC and I quit the TV job and moved. I made one jump at a Maryland DZ in the town of Woodbine. The next weekend we did the long drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Ridgely, the home of the Pelican Skydivers. I had known the Pelicans for years but there were mostly newer members there that day. My wife and I got on the manifest but kept getting bumped for others. By the end of the day we hadn't made a single jump.

The following weekend my brother invited us to go rock climbing in West Virginia. We enjoyed it and without realizing it replaced one pursuit with another. I never made another jump. That was nearly forty years ago. Ironically, I took a 34 year hiatus from another sport - skiing - and have returned to it (and took up snowboarding) with a vengeance.

Skydiving was and always will be an important part of my life. I spent a lot of time at dusty DZs that are only a memory today (like Woodbine and Ridgely). Six years ago I envisioned a website that would document all the defunct drop zones in the country. I finally retired a month ago and rolled out DZGone.com.

My logbooks which had been missing for five years finally surfaced and I'm reliving the memories. I'm enjoying reading about the exploits of those still active in the sport but I have no burning desire to take to the air again.

On the other hand, I'm heading for Queenstown, New Zealand in November of 2015 to do the 440 foot Nevis bungy.......
DZGone.com
B-4600, C-3615, D-1814, Gold Wings #326, Diamond Wings #152.

If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room!

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Hi all!

Not jumping now because of a full load of work. I am on car racing now but miss skydiving and am planning on doing it again!

Nice to hear from you!! Blue skies! :)
Gonzalo

It cannot be done really means I do not know how to do it ... yet

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Ive started and stopped 3 times in 10 years. Currently selling my gear and believe I wont be back. I gave it my best, but never found a dropzone that felt like home. Most around here pack up around sunset. No one hangs out. Its not a family, its just business and I have much more fun mountain biking or climbing for much less cost. I gave a lot to it, spend 5k on tunnel training, etc etc. Im finally at a point where Im ready to move on.

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I was forced to take this year off for knee surgery. The forced vacation came after 37 years and more than 6,000 jumps. I even worked (teaching the first jump course, S/L, IAD, PFF, tandem, rigging, driving the fuel truck, etc.) full-time in the skydiving industry for 18 years.
Yesterday, my surgeon said that I would be able to resume running up and down mountains in a few more months, but cautioned me against returning to skydiving with a metal plate in my knee.

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DSE


I wonder if the wear/tear on the body of the *average* skydiver pushes some out of the sport. Hurt ankles, skinned knees, etc are all fine for the younger crowd, but some folks just don't want to deal with that when they have to go back to the boardroom on Monday morning.
Either way, the cycling all seems quite natural to me.



its funny you say that even if it was 7 years ago. the reason i started skydiving was because even though i could get hurt it wouldn't be every week.

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riggerrob

I was forced to take this year off for knee surgery. The forced vacation came after 37 years and more than 6,000 jumps. I even worked (teaching the first jump course, S/L, IAD, PFF, tandem, rigging, driving the fuel truck, etc.) full-time in the skydiving industry for 18 years.
Yesterday, my surgeon said that I would be able to resume running up and down mountains in a few more months, but cautioned me against returning to skydiving with a metal plate in my knee.


Sounds like a doctor who doesn't understand the sport of skydiving. I don't know about you but my landings are less traumatic to my knees and ankles than running any real distance.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

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mcordell

***I was forced to take this year off for knee surgery. The forced vacation came after 37 years and more than 6,000 jumps. I even worked (teaching the first jump course, S/L, IAD, PFF, tandem, rigging, driving the fuel truck, etc.) full-time in the skydiving industry for 18 years.
Yesterday, my surgeon said that I would be able to resume running up and down mountains in a few more months, but cautioned me against returning to skydiving with a metal plate in my knee.


Sounds like a doctor who doesn't understand the sport of skydiving. I don't know about you but my landings are less traumatic to my knees and ankles than running any real distance.

Most doctors (myself included) do understand skydiving and realize that it is not a zero impact sport. Once you are out of the plane you are at the mercy of nylon and nature. There is always the chance of a gust on landing, sudden no wind switch, turbulence.. more variable than running up and down mountains.

I am not trying to downplay your comment but realize docs are conservative. if he clears you to jump and you get hurt... you could make an argument for bad advice and open him to lawsuit. We are VERY conservative now that lawyers dictate what we do.

As for me... I can't say I "quit" the sport as left for a while to try and overcome my fears. I still have a lot of fear. Strangely its just the door and the 5 seconds after. Other than that, I'm fine. Money is not an issue (I don't want to be the best, or even compete!) since you can't put a price on euphoria. Its not about the DZ, because I jump for me. I have friends who skydive, I have friends who don't'. If people lost a connection with me because I stopped... that is OK. It happens.

Anyhow, It is a good post, I hope you all are out jumping :)

As safely as possible.
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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riggerrob


Yesterday, my surgeon said that I would be able to resume running up and down mountains in a few more months, but cautioned me against returning to skydiving with a metal plate in my knee.

Hmmm, isn't running up and down mountains rougher than skydiving?

I had a doctor tell me to quit skydiving even though he said I was in perfect health. :D

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JohnMitchell

***
Yesterday, my surgeon said that I would be able to resume running up and down mountains in a few more months, but cautioned me against returning to skydiving with a metal plate in my knee.

Hmmm, isn't running up and down mountains rougher than skydiving?

I had a doctor tell me to quit skydiving even though he said I was in perfect health. :D

Every time I see a patient with life issues I tell them to consider putting down the bottle, the pills, the sadness, the worry.. and go do a tandem. Most people have just never LIVED. I never felt so alive and never felt so close to God (sorry to the atheists that may offend, substitute anything else you like please) as when I jumped.

Telling someone to stop... I don't know if I could ethically do it if someone were physically able.
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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***Most doctors (myself included) do understand skydiving and realize that it is not a zero impact sport. Once you are out of the plane you are at the mercy of nylon and nature. There is always the chance of a gust on landing, sudden no wind switch, turbulence.. more variable than running up and down mountains.

I would disagree entirely. I think most people in general have no idea what skydiving is like, including most doctors. I talk to people all the time that ask me about the landings in skydiving because they think we do some sort of gypsy moths style thump when we land. I'd also disagree that skydiving is more of a risk to your knees than running. In running you are subjecting your knees to constant jarring impacts. Running is terrible for your knees. I've never heard of someone causing runners knee by skydiving.

As a runner and a skydiver I can tell you I have experienced runner's knee from running a 17 mile training run and on a different occasion from running several 4-8 mile runs on back to back days. I have not caused significant injury, but the risk is still there. The worst I have ever done to my knee skydiving was last weekend when I bumped my knee on the step going out last on a 4 way. When I left the door to dive I think I bumped the step. I got a bruise. I'll take that over any overuse injury caused by running.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

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In terms of routine running and routine jumping you are correct

I've never seen a broken pelvis from a runner, I've known 2 jumpers with them.

Never met a runner with a femur fracture from running... It's common enough that "femuring" is a word in the skydive vernacular.

With more runners than jumpers you would expect a marked increase in injury if running were that evil.

Maybe the issue is that long term running tends to destroy knees, one bad landing can do the same.

Either way, landing hard is pretty tough and there's a lot of variables on a jump. Should you stop? I think the best advice a doc could give would be "you can jump when you think you are ready" (assuming all has healed)
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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This was definitely a fun thread to read through.

I don't jump much these days (<10% of the rate when I was very active) but still haven't quit. Going through three to four generations of 3-year jumpers at the dropzone can be tough, especially when almost all the people on the several teams I've been on have drifted away from the sport.

I was at a boogie a few years ago to shoot photos and one of the organizers asked me from whom I bought (implying it was second hand) my Elsinore Jedi jumpsuit... I thought that was amusing.

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At kind of a crossroad myself. 1 jump on my last reserve repack. A shitty jump on my last jump, and the feeling that I will never be one of the "cool kids". I have a rig with one year left on the AAD and a chute whose wingloading is at a beginner level. Trying to feel positive over a winter layoff is getting harder and I don't want to give up the sky, but there is less joy than before. Getting started and getting an A license was great, but now what?

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Thinking about this myself. Don't know if I'll be back next season. I just got my first wingsuit jumps in, and I'm trying to make a decision about it before I spend $1,500 on my own wingsuit.

The time and money investment is starting to wear on me. I'm getting much less sleep on weekends, spending a lot of time stressing over the rain, wind and clouds (and wow do we have a lot of that here), and I have other directions I could send the skydiving budget in. At our club, you can spend the entire day there and only get 2-3 jumps in because we don't have enough lift capacity. The payoff is when skydiving is fun, it's a whole lot of fun. I know I'd miss it if I left, but I'd console myself with my spare time and cash.

And yesterday I found out that I might have overlooked a pretty expensive tax obligation. Depending on what my accountant comes back with, cutting skydiving could be the quickest and easiest way to make up this cost.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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I find myself in a similar situation to you, SecondRound. I'm also in my "second round" at this sport, have done some interesting (at least to me) things my second time around, but wonder if it is time to give it up permanently.

My first round (literally on rounds) in skydiving was in the 1980's. There was a very strong sense of sky family at my first DZ. After just 3 or 4 jumps--as soon as they saw I wanted to continue with the sport--I was being integrated into the culture of the sport. People were inviting me to participate in DZ activities, offering to teach me to pack, and to jump with me when appropriate to my skill level, and needless to say introducing me to the beer :D traditions. I finished the requirements for my 'A' back in the day but never officially got the license before school and job commitments caused me to drift away from the sport. It was always a goal of mine to eventually come back and officially get an A license/A license number.

So many years later I returned to the sport and--basically starting again from the beginning (I no longer even have my old logbook from the 80's)--did get my A license, officially this time. However, this time around I've felt more like simply a paying customer of a business--and less like a member of a sky family. There have been some friendly gestures that I appreciate--but the overall takeaway has been that it is hard to get anyone to talk about skydiving with me in a more in depth way than "hey you what altitude are you pulling at" as I board the aircraft for a solo. As a paying customer I've generally been treated well--and the times I haven't been have been addressed and remedied and don't need to be discussed further--but being a paying customer just isn't quite the same as being part of a family and a culture.

And solos get boring after awhile. I've had a few chances to do 4- and 6-way jumps, which I appreciate, but which really haven't helped me build up any sky family/friends. Of course I'm older than I was in the 1980's, but the whole sport has aged, so I'm not sure that fully explains why it has seemed less of a cultural fit this time around.

Also I hurt myself on a jump early this year and--although I'm physically ready to return--I just haven't felt inspired to do so.

The bottom line is that I'm really, really glad that I came back and officially got my 'A'--a sense of closure to finish something that I started a long time ago. But I'm just not sure if I see a future in this sport that inspires me. That could change at any time and if it does I'll be back at the DZ the next weekend--but right now I'm just not feeling it.
"It's hard to have fun at 4-way unless your whole team gets down to the ground safely to do it again!"--Northern California Skydiving League re USPA Safety Day, March 8, 2014

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Find a small Cessna DZ in your area, not a tandem factory. That is where the sport is very much like it was in the eighties. A small Club is you best bet for the vibe you are looking for. The old school places are few and far between but when you find it, it will be like stepping back in time. Don't give up, what you are looking for is out there.

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