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Who Are Skydivers Anyway?

Words by Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

happy freeflyer
Image by Juan Mayer

At our very core, who are skydivers? Many people who don’t jump have a stereotypical impression of skydivers. Some think we are a subculture of young, adrenalin junkies with a disregard for life who enjoy pushing the limits on every jump. Many of the movies that involve skydiving have not only backed that impression up but have taken it a step further by making us into the likes of bank robbers and drug smugglers.

Diverse

But one thing I’ve always loved about skydivers is that in reality we are the most diverse group of individuals you could ever find assembled in one place. Any given day on the drop zone, certainly at Skydive Perris, you will see skydivers aged from 18 to 80, from as many as 30 different countries (during big events), from every ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and occupation. We are teachers, students, generals, privates, doctors, waiters, fireman, gardeners, policeman, secretaries, mechanics, construction workers, models, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs of all types. You name it, we’ve got 'em! But no matter the background, or financial status, when we walk on to the drop zone none of that matters. Everyone is equal.

Skydivers aren’t just dreamers: we are dreamers who backed it up with action

Bird Complex

The only thing I can think of which could possibly unite such an odd collection of individuals must be that skydivers share some kind of rare genetic disorder which makes us think that we are closer to being birds than we actually are.

swooper and bird
Erwin Baatenburg de Jong (Tank) at DIPC — Image by Juan Mayer

Dreamers

There is one other thing that defines each and every one of us whether we’ve made one jump or thousands. We are all people who had a dream and dared to follow it through. Many people have dreams but far fewer have the courage to see them to fruition. Skydivers aren’t just dreamers. We are dreamers who backed it up with action. Action that was hard for us to take.

For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return
Leonardo da Vinci

Doers

Most people who have made a jump dreamt about skydiving for years before they got up the courage to actually make it to the drop zone and do a first jump. Continuing after that is even more difficult. After each jump as new skydivers are working through the student progression towards their A License they experience feelings of exhilaration and freedom that are unmatched. Nothing else compares. They can’t wait for their next skydive.

But once they return home to their real world the excitement often subsides and common sense starts to take over. They start thinking of every reason to never to jump again. And there are many. For starters it’s dangerous and scary as hell, not to mention expensive, terribly inconvenient and time consuming. There are so many other things they could be doing with their time. Despite all that, their dream of flight is so strong that they find a way to make it happen.

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Image by Juan Mayer
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Following the Dream

Pursuing and achieving any dream proves to us that we don’t have to accept the status quo. That it’s actually possible to go after the things we want in life. I have seen many people who discovered this through skydiving, then have the confidence and courage to pursue other dreams they had in business or relationships which were completely unrelated to skydiving.

Passion

I have two wonderful children and I couldn’t care less if they never skydive. But I hope they find something to pursue in life that they are passionate about, something that keeps them up at night, that they can’t live without, something that will connect them with others who share that same passion. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just want them to have something they love like I love skydiving and people to share it with they love like I do skydivers.

Read more of Dan's philosophies on Life at: Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

Buy Dan's book at Above All Else

Intro photo by: Juan Mayer

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