Coping with Competition
Using competition butterflies to make your performance better, not worse...
Just landed. While busy stowing my brakes, from my right side I hear “Watch ou..!” Bam!! No time for anything else, this guy rams against me and we both go flying in the air. I land on my side and hit my head against the ground pretty hard. Next thing I know, the manager of my dz is kneeling next to me and I’m waking up not knowing what happened in between.
Now, what can I (and you too) learn from this experience? At first, of course, all my thoughts went against the guy who rammed against me, but with time and talking things over with other skydivers I calmed down and remembered two important points that I had forgotten over the years: Firstly, the jump does not finish when you land; keep your head on a swivel even in the landing area, until you are at the packing area.
Secondly, keep your helmet on until you are in a safe area, far from incoming canopies (I was lucky I was still wearing mine when I got hit). Also, I might add that if someone in your group is a newbie or you are not confident they have good freefall/canopy flying skills, be particularly careful.
From the perspective of the person who hit me: always, always look around you, not only in the air for the people flying and landing near you, but also look for empty spots where you can land without fear of harming anybody. Whether there are very few in the landing area (like in my case) or many (as in a record, with hundreds), you have to keep your head on a swivel looking for others you may collide with.
We should all take canopy courses regularly in order to stay sharp with our canopy flying skills.
While there is not much we can do about other people´s actions, we can work on avoiding their mistakes and on not making those mistakes ourselves. Pretend everybody is out there to get you. Taking precautions is better than spending time at the hospital.