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Shawn Myers: The Instant You Let Go

Instructor Spotlight

Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 6 years ago

Tandem instructor Shawn Myers riding the plane to altitude.

During the week, Shawn Myers is the mild-mannered (well, kinda) Director of Purchasing for a large manufacturing company. On the weekends, however, he straps on a parachute and becomes the friendliest, most jovial, kindest instructors and ringmaster the sky has ever seen. And he doesn’t even need a phone booth to perform the transformation! How’s that for magic?

For our WSC community, the most magical thing about Shawn is how he came to find us in the first place. Even though he’s a cornerstone of our “family” now, Shawn readily admits that skydiving had never really come up on his radar before he came out to visit our dropzone at the age of 41. He’s always been an adventurer, mind you: He’s climbed all of the tallest mountains in the continental US; he’s kayaked in the ocean; he’s lived all over the country. For all of that, he’d never seriously thought about jumping out of a plane.

“I didn’t really, like, want to skydive,” Shawn laughs. “I hadn’t ever really thought much about doing it. But I was going through a pretty unique situation in my life. I had been recently divorced, and at the same time I was graduating from college. I didn’t go to college early in life;  I started college when I was 37.

“I went to visit Atmosphair [WSC’s first iteration] with a girl in my class,” he says. “When we were headed out there, I was this typical tough guy: I wasn’t going to be scared in front of her or anyone else. I dropped my guard immediately when we arrived. It was awesome. I literally landed and I ran back inside to get a second jump. I just told Alex, ‘Take me back up right now!’ After that second jump, I ran back in and told her, ‘I want to do this for the rest of my life. Sign me up for AFF.’ It was crazy.”

In less than a month, Shawn was a certified skydiver. He’s never looked back – and he can tell you exactly why.

Tandem instructor Shawn Myers preparing to exit an airplane at Wisconsin Skydiving Center

“There’s a moment in any given skydive that is incredibly important,” Shawn says, adamant. “And not just on a skydive. It’s true for life in general. It’s about the instant you let go. You will never be as alive as you are the instant you let go. I use that in life – it applies to letting go of problems; of bad people – to represent allowing yourself to be free. Skydiving has given me a way to express that. That’s what it is to me.”

“When I teach a class,” he explains, “I tell people there are several ways we can choose to describe our experiences to others – verbally; in writing – but there are only two things in life that I feel it’s impossible to accurately communicate. One is watching the birth of your child. The other is letting go of the plane on a skydive. It’s that powerful.”

“I think sometimes we don’t find skydiving; it finds us in some way,” he muses.

When skydiving “finds us,” as Shawn puts it, the other thing that finds us is the greater skydiving community. For many people – and for so many of the folks who return to WSC for jump after jump after jump – the community is the element that keeps them magnetized to the sport. Shawn has loved meeting people from all over the world in the context of skydiving – all hailing from vastly different racial, ethnic, economic and social backgrounds – coming together here, on the dropzone, for the love of jumping.

Shawn insists that skydiving has enriched his life enormously, and he loves to share the wealth of that wisdom. Like the rest of the instructor team at the Wisconsin Skydiving Center, Shawn feels most at home when he’s teaching, whether that’s in the sky or on the ground, in our legendary ground school for new students.

“When I teach the class,” Shawn grins, “I love to tell the students that as humans, we have a lot of emotions, and it’s fine to express them all. I never tell a student to relax, but I tell them to embrace the fear – or the anxiety – or whatever emotion they have – and enjoy it in the moment. In all likelihood, you will never experience that level of anxiety or fear in such a safe place. When the airplane door opens, you have the unique opportunity to reach that maximum level of emotion. Embrace it, enjoy it, smile, feel it and remember it – because when we leave, all of that is going to disappear. You only get emotion for a moment or two. So I tell them all to just live in that moment and cherish it.”

Tandem instructor Shawn exiting a Cessna 182 with a tandem student at Wisconsin Skydiving Center

A dedicated family man, Shawn lives in Madison’s gorgeous Arboretum with his wife and three children.

“My wife is incredibly supportive and amazing,” Shawn says. “She says I’m a nicer person when I skydive! There is something about [this sport] that I truly believe goes deeper than the surface. I’m a lucky man to be able to share it with people.”

Book your tandem skydive today, and meet tandem instructor Shawn and the rest of our skydiving family at the dropzone.