Published: February 28, 2017
America may be disagreeing on a lot of subjects right now, but here's the common ground: We all admit it's been a tough few months. The current discursive climate is pretty darn brother-against-brother toxic.
People are looking for connection; for a way to heal.
It may sound a little odd, but we skydivers have a place to go that's conspicuously absent of all that hate speech and divisiveness. As it turns out, skydiving is the great equalizer: an accepting community for people from all walks of life. Freefall erases the philosophical differences between us, dissolving discrimination in the same way it dissolves insecurity and stress. We usually don't think too much about it--because, for us, it's just the way it is in the sky--but today's political frustrations have made us appreciate it just that much more, so we felt compelled to share.
1. Skydiving Doesn't Care If You Were Born With A Silver Spoon In Your Mouth.
Sure, there are skydivers who spend their fat paycheck on the dropzone. That's awesome for them--it must be sweet to have a fancy skydiving rig, a sci-fi-lookin' helmet and the very latest jumpsuit. That shiny kit, however, isn't necessary to have a good time. Tons of jumpers spend their weeks saving up enough money to make a few jumps when the weekend rolls around, jumping a rig they've had since they graduated student status, wearing a jumpsuit from which they've lovingly scrubbed years' worth of grass stains and rocking a loved-to-death helmet ("lid") that they use for everything from skydiving to skiing.
There's one accessory that both groups wear proudly--a smile. And they generally wear it together, on the same jumps. There's no line drawn between the groups; it's a true meritocracy.
2. Skydiving Doesn't Care Where You Go To Church.
Is there a Bible in your backpack? A Quran? A scrawled notepad filled with pagan spells? Nothing at all? No problem. As long as there's a logbook in there, you're welcome at your local dropzone.
Don't get us wrong: Skydivers are believers. We do believe, and passionately. We believe that this sport represents the very best way to model a diverse group working together towards goals in a high-pressure environment.
3. Skydiving Doesn't Care About Your Skin Color.
...because why would that matter a jot? Our interest in the color of your skin is only going to kick in if you get a bruise while you're swooping.
4. Skydiving Doesn't Care About Your Sexual Orientation.
Here's a fact for you: Skydivers are 78% more likely than non-skydivers to write "yes, please ;) ;)" next to the checkbox for 'sex' on any official form.
Fine. We just made that up.
It's not too far off the mark, though, really. Skydivers are pretty reliably unlikely to have any opinion whatsoever about your choices in romantic partners. We've seen a lot of dropzone bathrooms, and we can tell you pretty definitively that a homophobic slur has never made an appearance on one. We're busy doing things that matter: like rolling around on our bellies on modified furniture dollies, trying to figure out how to successfully build that formation.
At the end of the day, it's like this: If you insist on discriminating, you're gonna have fewer friends to jump with. And who wants that? Not us.
Truly the best feeling in the world is letting go and taking the beautifulness in this world in.
» Kimberly Marti