Miles Per Hour
By Kevin Maguire
day at work I had a realization that had been growing deep
inside. I looked around my office and did a summary of all
of my accomplishments. Although I was proud of where I was
in life, I felt completely empty and clueless as to what I
wanted to be when I "grew up".
I knew it was time to
make a change, time to do something drastic, something big.
So I talked three of my crazy friends into stepping it up
with me and pushing our limits.
It is early morning and the four of us are driving down
the road to our destination looking at a brochure that has
"125 Miles Per Hour" on the cover. As we open it,
my heart drops to the floor realizing what I have organized;
a skydiving adventure. The feeling was part anxiety and
We arrive at Skydive Atlanta and immediately start the
"Safety Training". First we sit in front of a
TV/VCR that is playing a video that was more like a bad
comedy skit. We even laughed a few times, that is until they
mentioned death and the fact that it may happen to us.
Sitting there signing away contracts that say death every
tenth word can put things into perspective relatively quick.
Let's just say I said some prayers and made some phone calls
to the ones I love and did a recap of my life while waiting
my turn to jump.
Now it is on with the spacesuits and out to the planes. Mind
you these are not the jets we take back home for
thanksgiving, no no, they are small seatless planes without
a stewardess, but there are plenty of nuts on board.
We are going to fly way up into the sky and jump out; talk
about pushing the limit!
I am seated at the front of the plane next to the pilot and
the last jumper in the plane. The pilot leans over and says
"get ready", then dips the plane so we feel
weightless for a moment, an unbelievable feeling by the way.
Then in an instant the sound inside the cabin exploded with
fury and volume as the door opened in the back of the plane.
I have never had
a reality check as intense and as hardcore as that moment,
that is until a few minutes later I notice that everyone who
was in the plane is now gone and I am standing in the
doorway at 14,500 feet about to jump.
The first thing I notice as I stand on the "plank"
is the floor of clouds thousands of feet below.
remember someone doing a countdown and then rolling out of
the plane. Remember when you were a kid and you would spin
around a few times in the yard and fall to the ground and
watch everything go round and round, well multiply that
feeling by a million.
Flying south at 125 miles per hour, I feel like superman as
I rip through the clouds. Free-falling for 66 seconds felt
like a lifetime up there. Every once and a while I would
pull my cheeks back from behind my ears and realize how loud
The video camera
guy that also jumped out of the plane gives me a high-five
(literally) and flys off. The guy I am jumping tandem with
yells in my ear that he is pulling the cord.
We went from 125 miles per hour to what seemed like being
shot out of a cannon at the circus. I will never forget the
feeling of almost leaving my body as the chute opened and
everything went completely silent. I closed my eyes and
stretched out in every direction as far as I could. There
are no words to possibly describe that moment, that feeling,
I still ask myself why I would have even thought to ask for
this request, but I asked my tandem jumper to give me the
full effect of a skydive he would do if he had jumped alone.
As we were spinning around doing figure 8's in the sky, I
felt like I was on the Batman rollercoaster at Six Flags on
Now comes the scary part, the landing. As we get closer I
have flashbacks of the video we saw earlier stating that
most deaths happen when landing. At this point the trees are
getting bigger and the landing field is in sight. Superman
takes over again as I wave to the citizens of Metropolis
below (not really).
We graciously sweep into the landing zone and slide into
home plate, planet earth. I made it!
As I stood up I felt like the first man on the moon, or
should I say earth. I have never and will most likely never
again feel as alive as I did at that moment. That
unbelievable, incredible, amazing, natural high lasted for
about a month, but I still dream about flying.
When you stare
fear in the face, you figure out what is really important to
you. That is why I decided to fly thousands of feet into the
sky and willingly jump out of a plane.
Let's just say that skydiving gave me the perspective I was
looking for, it gave me appreciation, it gave me the
scariest experience of my life.
It gave me the courage
to change my life for the better!
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