The smell of jet fuel, the wind in your face, laughter looming in the air, parachutes blossoming overhead – skydiving is not only a unique sport but also a Wonderland for adults. Why? Not only does this heart pumping, adrenaline racing experience double as a sport in which you can progress to become an instructor or excel to be a competitor – it has an arms-wide-open-welcome-to-the-tribe culture on any skydiving dropzone around the world. As the saying goes, “Come for the skydiving, stay for the people!”
The Skydiving Tribe
Dictionary.com explains subculture as a “cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.” And yeah – skydiving does vary from the norm because it takes a special kind of person to not only jump from a perfectly good airplane but to do it again and again where THAT becomes the new norm!
There’s a tight-knit kind of feel within the community of skydivers that is sometimes rather unexplainable. Some liken it to the military concept called “unit cohesion.” Unit cohesion was coined in the early ‘80s as “the bonding together of soldiers in such a way as to sustain their will and commitment to each other, the unit, and mission accomplishment, despite combat or mission stress.” When you learn to overcome the fear of stepping out into the blue yonder and live to tell the tale – no one understands it better than those that do it themselves.
To those who jump, no explanation is necessary, to those who don’t jump
no explanation is possible. -Anonymous
How the Community is Built
Even though you are stepping into a world of unknowns, from your first jump you are welcomed as if you were always a long-lost friend. Generally greeted with smiles, hearing laughter in the background, and enveloped with a contagious energy that says, yes, you belong here. You begin to meet others that are taking their first leaps too, and there’s an instant bond.
Taking the next step to learn to skydive you will again meet others along the same path. They may be complete strangers yet there is a familiarity and acceptance that you are embarking on this mysterious but captivating journey together. You’ll cheer each other on, support each other, talk about your experiences, and before you know it…..
There are several skydiving forums for local skydivers: places to buy gear, bonfire-type groups, newbies, and skydiving events. And that’s just one way to connect.
Opportunities such as attending local events that attract others to your home DZ, traveling to other skydiving locations for boogies or jumping from specialty aircraft, to perhaps entering the world of instruction or finding others of similar skill levels and committing to jumping together to progress your skills and compete – all of these paths lead you to meet more like-minded people that all encompass that same attitude – welcome to our skydiving community!
Where to Start
The beginning is the most important part of the work – Plato
Skydiving begins at the age of 18 at most skydiving centers – the legal age of adulthood. The age where being a beginner is hard as we’ve conquered school, earned our driver’s licenses, and other rites of passages to adulthood. So we borrow a quote from Meister Eckhart,
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.
Where to start? The beginning of joining and building your skydiving tribe is making your first jump. If you’re one of those people that can’t stop thinking about that just-jumped-from-a-plane-and-heads-in-the-clouds feeling, then take the next steps to earn your license. It’s as easy as that.
Check your calendar, call your people and make it happen. There’s no time like the present!