Skydiving experience outweighs all the fears engendered by this sport. It calls for a great deal of emotions during the jump and a very relaxed feeling once you are back on the land. It is one of the best experiences in my lifetime. I cannot compare this experience with anything else. I will start off by describing what I felt when I was at the airfield ready for getting on the plane in Arizona. My forehead spews forth sweat as I gazed at the monstrous silver-plated bird in front of me. It is a DC-3 and even its shadow is threateningly voluminous. I'm going over in my mind the seven steps: count, grab the controls, check the dome, note the position of the other skydivers, locate the jump area, determine the direction of the wind and prepare for landing 1500 feet above ground. Everything appears so easy, but, how to know it if I have never done it before? The risks of responding to that question could be disastrous. As I board, my final thought is that this will be the first time that I will go out of the plane in a dissimilar fashion to how I got in.
I attend at those close to me, not to the students who are paralyzed with terror, merely to the most experienced skydivers. One man sticks his head out at the door as the wind caresses his face like the sail of a boat. Another man opens a window adjacent to him and looks down. And a young woman sends a flying kiss to her beau. But then I catch the eyes of the woman who is sitting next to me. Her eyes are closed and I don't know if she is praying, pondering the question whether to jump or not or if she is just tired out, but, I interpret it as fear and her fear becomes mine. Whenever the airplane ascends, I feel as if the heart is pulled towards the Earth. I repeat the same words over and over again: "Fear is a State of Mind", but when they signal the students to stand up, I realize that it is precisely that State of mind that causes my knees to tremble.