A Local B.A.S.E. Jumper’s Perspective
I grew up in Oak Hill, WV right next door to Fayetteville where Bridge Day is held every year. It's always either on or right after/before my birthday, so I remember nearly all of them and always look forward to the day every year.
But I don’t remember any other Bridge Day quite as well as last year, October 18, 2008. It was the first time I got to know what being a B.A.S.E. Jumper on Bridge Day was like. And, as a bonus, it was all in front of the hometown crowd, and on my birthday!
Early, during the first round of jumps, not many spectators are there. But most of my friends were out there to see me jump, yell at me, and make it really memorable ( in addition to being my first BD jump and all). It was all that and more- and awesome jump, any way you look at it.
However, my second jump of the day was definitely one to remember. A group of my skydiving friends and I had a little private packing area in the median of the road right beside a vendor booth that my parents were running for their church. By this time it was noon, and the crowd was out in full force. I had tons of people that I know crowded around me while packing, asking questions taking photos and all that jazz. I finished packing, stood up to put my rig on, and started walking.
I told my mom I loved her, and some other jumper friends walked along with me as I made my way out to the bridge. We were getting on down the road when a local friend of mine comes up to me and tells me to turn around and look. I did.
There, I saw a swarm of people, all from my hometown, following me to the platform to watch my jump. Everyone from my sister and brother, to people I haven't seen since I graduated high school in '03. It was astonishing. We got to the end of line of jumpers and the swarm thickens, more questions, photos and even a couple kisses!
A buddy and I had planned on doing simultaneous gainers right beside each other and I was going low and he was pulling high so we were sticking to it. We get to the platform and the mc comes to me and asks what we were planning to do on our jump, and as I'm about to tell my friend butts in, “It's this kid's birthday!” I was thinking Ok here go, but the guy was like, “No way, what's your name and where are you from?” So I tell him I'm Marcus Ellison and this is my hometown right here.
The crowd went nuts and the mc said that I had groupies! So he gives us the platform, it was our turn to go, crowd still flipping out and I was literally about to do the same. We take off toward the edge, get there, jump, (my buddy decided not to flip at the last second and didn't tell me) go into the rotation, flatten out look to see my buddy, he pulls, I wait another second and dump!
I could hear the crowd from the time I left the bridge all the way to the landing area at Fayette Station, where my dad was waiting on me and gave me a big ol' hug! That's what it's like to be a local B.A.S.E. Jumper on Bridge Day! See you this year October 17, 2009.
Special Guest Post By: Marcus Ellison
An Oak Hill, WV native and West Virginia University Student, Marcus is into jumping from things and general shenanigans.