Scotty liked the way he felt when he was in the air. There was nothing than can defeat him when he was on his bike. He did most of his thinking while flying in the air. Most people concentrated or focused on the landing, or the technique. Scotty just focused on the freedom.
“Why do I jump? Because there is something that I can touch that no one else can. I can feel the sky as I jump every time. I hate the concept of the ground, but I’ve got to touch the sky every now and then. Jim can fly his jets till he turns blue in the face, but he never touches the sky.”
I could never jump a bike, my fear of heights would capture my desire to touch the sky.
But there was that one day…
I was 11 and had the greatest BMX bike ever (Okay maybe it wasn’t the greatest, but it was mine) , a solid red Schwinn that my Uncle Al gave to me. And I know I wasn’t Evil Knievel because instead of jumping Snake River, or a Las Vegas monument, I was just jumping the ramp that my brother and I had put across a small stream.
We put the ramp where we could ride as fast as we could down the two blocks of street , making the small turn down the dirt road and then down the small hill to the ramp.
It was the last day of summer and I hadn’t landed the jump yet.
I had tried every day that summer and whether I was short, or didn’t even make the ramp, I just wanted to make this jump before school started. Everyone in the 5th grade knew I was going to try the jump and I had the pressure of trying to make it or be known as a failure for the entire year.
So my best friend Scotty was there and told me “no matter what happens, just do your best and don’t forget to touch the sky.”
So I put on my best Dungarees and my favorite t-shirt on and headed down the three blocks to the staging area.
As I rode up my stomach fell.
Cause it wasn’t Jimmy or Scotty there.
It was the entire 5th grade.
“You can do it Donnie” said a guy who I thought tried to stuff me into my locker last year.
“I’ll kiss you if you make it D,” Joanna said to me.
And all I could think of was Scotty’s words as I started to pedal, and circled the path.
Touch the sky, touch the sky…
and I started my run, pedaling faster and faster as I hit the turn and down the dirt hill I pedalled.
The kids were just blurs as I past each of them, I could see the ramp and hit it going faster than I thought possible.
And I was flying. It was just like Scotty said. It was amazing, I could taste it.
I landed the jump , and as my hands were in the air celebrating my landing I hit a pebble.
And I flipped in the air again, but this time with a bike on top of me landing with an awkward thud.
Something was broken in my arm. Yup, definitely broken.
Joanna gave me that kiss, but I didn’t feel it.
I didn’t feel my broken arm (in three places).
I was free.