How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tiffany Becker

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by Tiffany Becker | C-40498 | Acworth, Georgia

"I'll never, ever skydive." I said those words out loud at one point in my life, partly because I was genuinely scared and partly because I could sense the pull toward the sky. Later, as a single, 27-year-old woman, I heard my sister say she would skydive, and I caught myself responding that I would jump with her. I seemed to have forgotten about that "never, ever" part and made tandem reservations for the two of us. We spent the day at the hangar waiting out clouds, and when it came time for us to jump, we had the plane to ourselves. I didn't want to witness my sister falling out of the plane, so I volunteered to jump ahead of her. My first thought once I landed was, "Why was I so scared of this? It's amazing!" After we walked back to the hangar, my tandem instructor gave me a brochure about AFF, and that's when I knew I was hooked.

Two months later, I found a drop zone in my hometown and went through AFF. I was nervous every time I drove to the drop zone, and I honestly don't remember when that started to subside. Most mornings when I would show up to jump, I would see people snoozing in their sleeping bags. I considered them to be the "real" skydivers, a status I wasn’t certain I’d ever attain, but I graduated from AFF and knew I wanted more.

Meanwhile, back in my normal life, I started telling those I'd meet that I was a skydiver. One night, I attended a singles event through my church and met a guy named Josh. We started talking and figured out that we were both skydivers. He has since told me he used the “I’m a skydiver” line to impress me. I recall telling him that I, too, was a skydiver and asked how many jumps he had. He had made a tandem and two AFF jumps! Then he hesitantly asked for my jump numbers. About 53. But his three jumps said to me that not only had he completed a skydive, he loved it and understood the pull I feel toward the sky.

To my whuffo friends, I say, "The rest is history," but to my fellow jumpers reading this, I can't leave out the remaining details of how skydiving truly changed my life. Josh completed AFF, and the drop zone became our go-to date spot. We eventually got our coach and IAD instructor ratings together and have shared our weekend hobby with friends and family over the years. When I first started in this crazy sport, experienced jumpers would tell me that it's as much about the people as it is the skydives. I started skydiving as a personal pursuit, but after jumping for seven years I can confidently say it's as much about the people. The friendships that Josh and I have made while skydiving together will last a lifetime.

On November 16, 2013, our skydive friends spent an entire cloudy day at the hangar waiting on good weather so they could be a part of Josh's proposal to me in freefall. He and I were co-teaching the first-jump course, and I was oblivious to his plans since I was focused on the class. The clouds cleared in time for sunset, so we all geared up and loaded the plane. Josh had hidden a sign that read, "Tiffany, will you marry me?" which he revealed to me after exit when I went to dock on him. I nodded “yes” to him at about 10,000 feet AGL.

I'm so glad I chose to do that first tandem jump, because without it, I wouldn't have the most amazing proposal story and a skydive that I'll never forget. Five months later, Josh and I got married near the drop zone and made a wedding-day skydive afterward. So how has skydiving changed my life? It has taught me personal strength, created deep-rooted friendships and has given me the love of my life. For those reasons, I will be forever grateful and will always strive to give back to this sport the immeasurable joy it has given to me.

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