I did my first skydive (which was also a tandem) on August 28, 1996, and I am going to do my second tandem in a couple of weeks. There were 9 of us friends that went to skydive for the first time (two of our group had never even been in a plane before). Well, I was the organizer of this little extreme party, os I insisted on going first. My friend Kris and I went up together in the little Cessna. When that door opened at 10,000 feet, it was such a rush, I can’t even explain it. I can’t really remember thinking anything specific (I actually tried not to think too much about what I was doing, for fear of freaking myself out). Anyway, we stepped out of the plane, onto the prop under the wing. My tandem master yelled, “READY, SET, GO” and we let go. We seemed to freefall for only about 20 seconds, when in actuality, it was more like 40 seconds. He pulled the cord and it went from loud, air rushing noise (like being on a motorcycle), to dead quiet and being suspended in the air. Unfortunately, my tandem guy said “OH SH-T” and then “HOLD ON”. Apparently, my main chute had fallen out and was all tangled up. So, he cut the main chute and we fell about another 500 feet or so, then he pulled the auxiliary chute. I didn’t really know what had happened until after he pulled the auxiliary, but strangely enough I wasn’t scared. I knew we had stopped the first time, so it couldn’t be thar bad. I even have pictures of my original chute falling to the ground. Since I was the first to go, everyone on the ground had no idea what was going on. They thought my initial chute was the stabilizer. They were coming up with all kinds of theories about what it was. But even though I had a rough start, I can’t wait to go again. And no one of our group chickened out, and everyone of us is going again in a couple of weeks. We really bonded that day, and we are all very close as a result of risking our lives together. The day after, at work, I had the biggest grin on my face all day, people thought I was in love or had gotten “lucky” the night before. It is such a high, such a life-affirming event. To try to explain it is very difficult because it is like nothing else there is. It is the pinnacle.