Fort Worth Date Night: A Leap of Faith

by Michael Bloomberg
July 29, 2010

There is something to be said about bucket lists. For those in the dark, a bucket list are those things that you would like to do before you die. Purely selfish items meant to bring you joy, give you something to brag about or take you so far out of your comfort zone that it would catapult you to the next level.
I’ve never actually made a bucket list. However, looking back, I’ve done some things which others might consider bucket list material. For example, for a tv show, I traveled to Bora Bora. I even stayed in one of those huts on stilts sitting on the ocean.
Some single guys might think it was cool to spend some time with a Supermodel. I was fortunate enough to do that. When MasterCard and Sam’s Club teamed up to promote their wedding jewelry collection, I was hired, along with Supermodel, Niki Taylor. The day was not bad. In fact, she was really a sweet girl. Check that one off the bucket list.
Many people have skydiving on their bucket list. Recently, I had the opportunity to jump out of a plane. Yes, a perfectly good plane that flew just fine to an altitude of 13,500 feet. This was not something I really even was dying to…uhm…that I really wanted to do. The opportunity came about pretty quickly, I had to make a decision and a date was set along with 20 or so other skeptics. And, by skeptics, I mean 20 or so completely scared participants.
We show up to Skydive Dallas early on a Saturday morning. After a brief training class, it was time to get our gear. A jumpsuit, a helmet and goggles. The nice lady called our names and it was getting close. After putting on our jump attire, it was time to be paired with our co-jumpers. This would be the guy whose hands in which my life lies. The person I’m attached to who also happens to be the bearer of the parachute. Which, in skydiving, is a very crucial piece of equipment. Apparently, it determines what kind of landing takes place.
I’m placed with “Waz.” I haven’t met him yet, but, I’m already happy. Do I really want to jump out of a plane with a Jim or a Bob? Waz sounds like a name of someone meant and destined to be an expert in the science of airplane evacuation. At this point, I’m good.
Waz and I meet. He’s really a great guy. Seriously, it felt like we had known each forever. I could sense a real Bromance brewing here. And, when you are attached to another man and dropping out of the sky at 120 mph, I’m good with a Bromance. Actually, Waz was a true professional. His jovial nature and calm demeanor immediately helped any anxiety I was experiencing. I didn’t say it made it disappear, but, it did lessen.
We boarded the plane. The ride up seemed like it took a while. My guess is that it took about 15 minutes to get to altitude. Several experienced jumpers were on board and would jump first and then, a few of us first-time tandem jumpers filled up the rear. My intern, Lauren, was turning 21 that weekend and wanted to do something big for her birthday. She was along for the jump, as well. We jokingly referred to this as “team building.” In actuality, I can see where this can bring people together.
One by one, the plane begins to empty. With each jump, Waz and I, strapped together tightly at this point, begin inching towards the door. With every inch, my heart rate increases. Partly nervous, a part excited and a part that knows I can’t turn back. I am going to jump out of a plane!
We stand in the open door, just for a few a seconds and the countdown begins. At least, I think it was a countdown. For the sake of this story, it’s “one”….”Two”…”THREE!” And, out of the plane we go. There really is not another feeling to describe it or to which to compare. For about sixty seconds, it feels like you are flying. There isn’t that feeling like a roller coaster where your stomach drops. It is the most freeing, exhilarating experience. Perhaps, even better than the first time I tasted an ice cream sundae that had a brownie in it.
After the minute of falling 18 stories a second, Waz opens the chute and then it’s just a calm ride down to the ground. Everything slows down, the view is amazing and you have a whole new sense of self. And, perhaps, a new appreciation for life.
Which is why skydiving might be the perfect Date Night for you two. Can you think of a better lesson in trust than jumping out of a plane? What about what you two could do with that adrenaline after landing firmly back on land? Research has shown that couples who do different activities routinely, tend to develop a stronger connection. And, when those activities are exciting, couples also stay together longer.
Think about the stories you can tell. Not just with others, but, with each other. It’s much like bootcamp. There is a bond that is formed when you experience skydiving at the same time. Author, Dave Stein, summed it up best when he wrote, If I could stand in an open airplane doorway two-and-a-half miles above the ground and will myself to step into empty space, then I could do anything.”

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