By Bill Mills
I stepped forward when I heard my name called and they hooked me up to the cords. I then climbed onto the diving platform and stood on top of this bridge, more than 190 feet above the ground. I paused for a long moment to remember the instructions on what not to do.
Then the bungee master, KC Dale, stepped towards me and said, "dig deep."
Those were the words I needed. I started off with my 5 second count-down and leaped off of the bridge backwards.
The 170-foot fall lasted about 20 seconds, but to me it took close to forever.
I did three jumps that day and each one was better than the last. Traveling about 75 mph before I was pulled up by the bungee cord, I felt like a giant hand had reached out and caught me, playing with me like a little kid with a Superball.
The catch was slow and gentle, not hard and jerky like I thought it would be. Fear was not even a big part of it for me. The feelings I got from the experience were less than I expected, but more than I hoped for. With each jump I returned a changed man. I dug deep and found something I didn't know I had. I found a strength that is still with me, urging me at every moment to take a risk to dig deep and overcome the fear, to try something new. It's strength which tells me I can do anything I put my mind to. A strength so strong it makes me believe I can do anything.
"That's what it's all about," said the bungee master. He recently started his own business, called Oregon Bungee Masters, after 15 years as a teen counselor for outdoor skills. There are no greater obstacles to overcome than the ones we create for ourselves, said Dale.
The Oregon Bungee Masters is closed for the winter, but will open again in the spring, and you can bet I'll be there.
Bungee jumping is not for everyone, which is why I agreed to do this story - to find out why people do the crazy things they do. And I found that we take risks to find our limits, to see if we can to something we never thought we could do.