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Skydiving, also known as parachuting, is considered by many one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Johnson et al. asserts that, though not always, skydiving involves a certain time of free fall after diving from an aircraft at high altitudes in the sky, with the body accelerating at an increasing rate up to the terminal velocity (1). The divers are influenced by the gravitational pull and land on earth. Once the diver reaches the terminal velocity, he or she opens a parachute attached to his/ her body, in order to reduce speed and control the fall. Skydiving has a number of uses including deployment of military personnel on the enemy lands, emergency exits, and the last, sporting. This essay aims to explore the positive, as well as the negative, side of this sport that is becoming increasingly attractive to many sport lovers by delving into the different opinions given by the skydivers themselves, as well as other supporters of the sport.
THE LOVE FOR SPORTING
For a skydiver, the love for sport usually takes preference over all other factors; this love is not restricted to skydiving alone. Today, both males and females are allowed to go in for any kind of sports that he/ she prefers. Chris Rubio, a softball she-player, exhibits a very strong sense and love for her sport, which made her become capable of solving many hurdles in her life (1-5). Any sport unites people with similar interests and passion. In her own words, Chris Rubio states, “But that was only part of the connection I felt to these young women and consequently this sport. Since so much of what I saw in them I recognized in myself -- a love of the sport, a confidence on the diamond, even an independence from males (even at this young age) -- how could I not bond with my new sisters?”(2). Skydiving as any other kind of sport is thrilling and exiting; nevertheless, it also is rather dangerous. The safety and performance of the sportsperson depends on numerous objective and subjective factors; however, many depend on the person’s attitude and mood. Higgins states, “Psychological research suggests that trying to avoid a negative outcome and trying to attain a positive outcome have different effects on performance.” (Worthy et al 53). It implies that for one to excel in an activity, he or she must possess love for the game, at first. Rabstejnek concurs with this thought by arguing that the fears of succeeding in any venture or sport makes people blind to realize the fun and happiness in their lives (4-11).
THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SKYDIVING
Mistakes and unfavorable conditions in skydiving always end up in either one of the two ways: a serious injury or fatality. Reported fatalities and injuries in this sport are numerous and make many people shy away from it. A number of risks have been established and factored into skydiving; some of them are discussed below;
The Weather. In most instances, the weather is the major cause of the deaths and other fatalities associated with this sport. Bad weather disrupts the fall of the divers and makes them unable to control their chutes. Rainy, windy, cloudy, or stormy weather is always a widely feared situation in the skydiving sport. On the other hand, the most favorable weather for the sport is windless, sunny any cloudless sky. This weather condition is characteristic for the summer time, and that is when most of the dives are made.
Faulty Equipment. If a dive is made and the equipment is faulty, more often than not, it results in a fatality or a serious injury. Therefore, equipments used in skydiving are checked for several times before the dive, to make sure that they are in full working condition.
Suicidal Ideas among Skydivers. Some divers may have suicidal thoughts during the dive and may decide to use the diving experience to end their lives. This situation is imminent once one reaches terminal velocity and decides not to open a parachute. The only prevention measure for such deaths is thorough psychological research of people, who intend to make a dive, to ensure that there are experiencing no personal reasons that may prompt them to commit a suicide.
THE BRIGHT SIDE OF SKYDIVING
Skydiving is very refreshing, mind opening, and exiting sport. All possible measures have been made to make the sport safe; some of these measures include;
Safety Measures. There have been fewer and fewer fatalities since the inception of skydiving. Numerous sport associations and clubs spend a lot of time, money, and afford for designing better equipment, safety measures, and training programs. Currently, the equipment used in skydiving is more advanced and safer than ever before.
Reduced Risk among Well-trained Divers. Nowadays, divers are supposed to undergo a training program before they are allowed to skydive. This measure is aimed at reducing the number of fatalities resulting from skydivers’ mistake since a well-trained person is in a better position and knows how to react when faced with a difficulty, as opposed to a non-trained one.
Parachuting is gaining popularity with each year; today, skydiving has become a hobby for people from all over the world. Even though it contains a number of risks, the death rate is very low despite the fears of many people. The percentage of calamities and fatalities resulting from this sport is innumerous, almost negligible when matched with the number of dives made each year.
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