How Skydiving Changed My Life - Michael Hoover
by Michael Hoover | C-43743 | Finleyville, Pennsylvania
When I got my pre-second issue of Parachutist, as soon as I read “How Skydiving Changed My Life, ” I knew I wanted to write one. But I was barely licensed and hadn't been in the sport long enough to know what effect it would have on me. Now, more than a year later, I have learned much more.
May 25, 2013, was the day my best friend and I finally got our act together and decided to take the leap ... out of a perfectly good plane! We had talked about it for a while before I got a phone call telling me we were going to do a tandem jump that Saturday. I was so excited the second I landed. I was smiling ear to ear like a Cheshire cat. We had so much fun, we thought, “Why not do it again?” So, on July 14, 2013, we decided to surprise his stepmom and go on another tandem jump with her and another friend of ours. After that, we were hooked and started talking about taking the next step: signing up for static-line classes. However, that October 7, my best friend was working on his roof and fell seven feet. Five days later, we were all by his side when he passed away. Two days later, another loved one also met an untimely end and left me crushed. After these losses, skydiving saved my life.
On May 10, 2014, I got back out to the DZ, took the static-line course and made one jump. From then on, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to experience everything this sport has to offer. I found myself selling my quad [all-terrain vehicle] to pay for a rig and began scheduling my life around jumping. Everyone I met told me that I was crazy and had a death wish, or they were in awe that I actually did this on a regular basis. As we all know, if you don't jump then you won't get it. Skydiving takes me to my happy place. Like Happy Gilmore, every time I think about my happy place, I can't help but smile. It has such an impact on me that if I don't make a jump for a few weeks it actually affects me both mentally and physically. Once I do jump, I calm down and begin to enjoy life much more. I love everyone I have met and jump with at my home DZ. I still randomly smile and laugh out of nowhere. It's what I had been missing in my life ... I just didn't know it.
I recently started venturing out to other DZs, going to boogies and meeting awesome people from all around the world. I love that everyone is unique, and yet one simple enjoyment—skydiving—brings them together. Skydivers from all over the world have a wide array of professions, ethnicities and religions, but none of that matters. Nobody judges you if you’re a jumper. You are accepted and welcome to just come out and have an awesome time!
I have never been one to be able to pick up a book and read, but since I began skydiving, I have read an entire book—“Transcending Fear: The Doorway to Freedom” by Brian Germain—and I carry the Skydiver’s Information Manual with me everywhere I go. I commute to work on the trolley and spend that time studying for my licenses and just absorbing general knowledge. I currently hold a C license and a Coach rating. “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” (Leonardo DaVinci)