10 QUESTIONS WITH BO BABOVIC

Thursday, July 17, 2014

10 Questions with Bo

1. What attracted you to the sport of skydiving?

BB: I longed for the sky ever since I was born. In my earliest memories, I was running through fields in Serbia with my eyes turned skyward…. Just kidding!!! Nothing that exotic! It was a handwritten 2×3 note card posted on my high school bulletin board. I was 17 and had never had a single thought of jumping out of an airplane, I had never been exposed to it, didn’t know anyone who had ever done it. Out of nowhere, comes that note card and changes my life forever (a cliché, but true). I still remember that moment 40 years ago, standing there, reading that ad over and over again, feeling a tingling warmth permeate through my entire body, vibrant excitement in my belly, the outside world faded, and I felt as though I was in a tunnel, accelerating forward. If was my first ever encounter with skydiving, but somehow I knew with incredible certainty that I would be doing this for a long time to come. At that moment, reading the 2×3 note card, I became transcended into my future. That moment was/is/will be the ultimate quantum physics moment of my life. For me, that moment is still the embodiment of “love at first sight”.

2. What influenced you to actually make the phone call to make your first skydive?

BB: At that time, in Serbia, only high ranking politicians had telephones. The same day that I saw the ad, I walked to the Aeroclub where I was told that I had come late, and there were already 120 people signed up. First jump courses, at that time in Serbia, were run once a year from February through May. Three months of classes, obstacle courses, packing parachutes, meteorology classes, tests. I guess the “ease and simplicity” of it made the decision for me!

3. What’s the most memorable skydive you’ve ever been on?

BB: When you live log enough to be my age, memory becomes a dubious thing, it doesn’t stretch that far back anymore. My most memorable skydives are my jumps with Melissa, Billy, Augie, Kelsey, Jamie, Joe, Jose, Mat…. our July 2014 AFF students. What is so memorable about all these jumps is the intense and profound transformational journey they all went through in only one day. A quantum leap from the morning filled with anxiety, doubts, and fear, a day of information overload, to an evening filled with a deep sense of accomplishment and pride. I get goose bumps just writing about this. The early days of my skydiving are also still vivid in my memory: round parachutes, good times, and hard landings.

4. Who / What inspires you?

BB: Human imperfection and the duality of our existence. Random acts of kindness. Aware people who ponder the meaning of life. The incredible bravery of the skydiving community as a whole. Students’ smiles in freefall. Loyalty. Integrity. Passion. I know, big words, but ponder them for a while!

5. Of the places you have visited – what is your favorite place and why?

BB: The North Shore of Oahu (Hawaii) is the most stunningly beautiful scenery I have ever seen in freefall. Taft, California at sunset is the most intense moonscape. The Grand Canyon made me feel humble.
Wisconsin Skydiving Center (AtmosphAIR) is my favorite place to be, to skydive, and to think about when I am not there. WSC is the embodiment of all my needs; community, excitement, challenge, stimulation. WSC gives me a sense of purpose and belonging. Home.

6. What other interests do you have outside of skydiving?

Interests outside of skydiving …. not many. Raising kids, cooking, reading, day dreaming. Thinking how to make WSC a better and safer place. Not really “outside” is it?! I don’t have a need to go “out there” and “do” things anymore. I guess the “what” doesn’t really matter to me now; it’s all about the “how” and most importantly the “why”.

I was born to skydive. I want (need) to run with it as far as I can. And just a little farther.

7. What is something about you that few people know about?

BB: I am socially awkward. I think a lot of people know this, but few know why. I was pretty screwed up as a kid and as a teenager. At some point, I realized that small “fixes” just wouldn’t do, I needed a major overhaul. I went through many self improvement seminars, workshops, read a lot of self help books. “Loving What Is” – Google that one. I basically disassembled myself down to the last bolt and I am still in the process of assembling myself. Some people are born with common sense, a sense of right and wrong, self love, love for others. I had to relearn and redefine all that. That is why I am a “that great guy” most of the time, but then, once in a while, I say or do things … (where did that come from?!). I know it must be confusing for people around me, it’s confusing for me too. I am not perfect, just as everyone else, I am just trying to figure this whole thing out.

Once thing is certain: I am working on it and every day. I am becoming a better human being.

8. If you could meet anyone in the world for a coffee and a chat (alive or deceased) who would you wish to meet with?

BB: It’s a long list, it would be a party. I would have to get them all drunk, for only through “spirits” I would be able to get to their inmost. Albert Einstein said “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.” I also want to know God’s thoughts but I want to know the details too because the “devil is in the details”.

If I had to choose one, it would be the Dalai Lama. Except, it would not be a chat, I would like to just sit quietly, in his presence.

9. What do you do for work? If you could do anything as an occupation – what would it be?

BB: If I could do anything as an occupation, I would be a professional skydiving instructor and a DZO (drop zone owner). All day long, I would jump out of airplanes, occasionally fly them, hang out with cool (warm) people. On my days off, I would play with parachutes and sewing machines, tinker with airplane engines. At times the going would get tough. A lot of work, stress, lots of effort, incredible complexity, insane responsibility, moments of sheer overload. But, I would love that too because that would be the perfect setup so that I can make my mistakes, get better, grow, become a better human being. And some day when my body won’t be able to do all that any more and I will want for nothing, I would hang out at the DZ, watch the sky filled with parachutes, talk to students right after they made a skydive. If they allow me, I would hang out with instructors, hoping some of their cool will rub off on me. And, to really get on their good side, at the end of the day, I would grill some awesome food and make sure that their beer is cold. If I could choose any retirement, that would be it. That would be my dream come true.

10. What are your future goals?

BB:

1. To keep understanding and defining myself.

2. To be around long enough to raise my kids and see them grow up.

3. To become a better skydiving instructor/examiner.

4. To make a difference for people who cross my path.

5. To see our Dropzone continue it’s mission long after I am gone.

6. When my time to go comes, that I am able to do it with ease, with no regrets. That I can look forward to a great transition with curiosity, excitement, and joy. After all, for me, that is the ultimate test.

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive.

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