Letters | Oct 01, 2019

Steven Simpson

In the beginning, we all wanted to be great flyers. We can recall many jumps when we weren’t. We wanted to set state records, and we remember when they were hard or didn’t happen. We wanted to get an invitation to be on a world-record team … and what joy once selected! Yet I hear a lot of discontentment from record participants when they were not on the successful record jump.

We all know that weather is outside the control of everyone. But whether weather limits the number of jumps or the group completes 15 or so jumps without success, you may be asked to sit out so a smaller group can achieve the record. It happens. Even if you flew perfectly but happened to be on the outer edge of the formation, which is no longer part of the dive plan. Even if your plane was not in formation and you had a long float or dive. Even if the formation had wicked waves when you were supposed to dock or your pod wasn’t building, etc.

Your attitude is the number-one thing that will affect your enjoyment as a world-record participant. Revel in the accomplishment of being able to participate. At the latest head-up world record attempts, there were 110 participants plus a 30-person bench. That’s 140 people. The actual record was an 84-way, meaning that about 40 percent of those who attended did not make it.

How can you avoid being cut? Easy, be one of the best-known ninjas with a slot in the center of the formation and fly perfectly all the time! However, even world champion shredders mess up. Sometimes they get cut and sometimes, fair or not, they get a second chance. Why did they get another chance and not you? Likely because they are one of the top, very well-known flyers and you’re not. The organizers are human, and it’s human nature to go with whom you know. And it’s the organizers’ job to deliver a record for as many participants as possible.

Remember, you can always become one of those best-known shredders by attending lots of camps and consistently demonstrating your ability to the organizers. However, when you come to a world record event, consider the likelihood that you may be cut. Being cut is a part of the big-way experience. Expect it. It happens. Your life won’t be significantly affected. If you do get cut, get on the bench, perform and try to get back in. Be mentally prepared. Bring and keep a positive attitude. Spread joy, love and be happy. Keep at it and get it next time!

Steven Simpson | D-23699
Apollo Beach, Florida

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