Is Skydiving a legitimate sport? Let’s debate

While appearing on HTC’s The PressBox TV Show on Monday night, the host, a longtime friend and my business partner, Allen Smothers, asked me an interesting question about skydiving.

I was appearing on the show to discuss some recent adventures I’ve participated in and skydiving was one of the topics. Since the show is a “Sports Talk Show”, Allen was either prodding me, or just wondering aloud when he asked me if skydiving was a sport?

I’m so limited in my knowledge of the sport, that I concocted some weak agreement that it was a sport and we began to debate. Granted, it was two people with zero to limited knowledge about skydiving discussing it.

Allen wouldn’t jump out of an airplane if you promised him a steak and beverage upon landing. Heck, if the plane went down, he’d probably take his chances sliding in with the belly of the plane rather than to jump out with a parachute on. His knowledge of skydiving was gained by watching it on the Discovery Channel while flipping from ESPN to Fox Sports South.

My knowledge is limited to the one instance last week that we were referencing. I was contacted on Friday night by a friend that was going and wanted me to join him. I said yes, and got up early on Saturday to jump.

In case you weren’t aware, North Myrtle Beach now has a skydiving business. It’s located at the North Myrtle Beach airport, if you think you might want to try it.

Going back to the debate, I guessed that the sport was probably judged in some way, like style or accuracy. Allen guessed that maybe the first person to land on the ground wins the event.

I can hear the competitors bantering back and forth before an event:
Skydiver Jeff; “Tom, you’re going down this year. I don’t plan to open my chute until I’m just 100 feet up. Top that!”
Skydiver Tom; “Splat”.

The truth is, skydiving is actually considered a sport by some. They hold events all over the country, and even have a 13 day national championship in Chicago that ends this week. The categories include Formation Skydiving, Free-flying, Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing, and more.

During my jump, I didn’t attempt to show style, or have any accuracy. I simply wanted to hold on for dear life and not screw anything up. By the time we were out of the plane’s door and falling at 125 miles per hour, my sensors were all firing on overload.

I think I can best explain the experience this way, if you like roller coasters, you should immediately do this. It’s better than any roller coaster, anywhere. It’s a high speed adrenaline rush with an incredible view. If you don’t like roller coasters, then maybe you should play golf instead. We can all agree that golf is a sport, right?

 

Photo Credit: Robert Newhouse
Ready to try? Get in touch with the Skydive Myrtle Beach folks at mbskydiving.com.

 

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