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Melanie Curtis won Advanced Class gold medals with Elsinore Adrenaline at the USPA Nationals 2004 and has been competing in the Open Class at the national championships ever since. She was back in the Advanced Class as a player coach for Monkey Business in 2011 and finished in 14th place of all 19 teams and in 8th place of USPA eligible teams.
Last year, she competed with pickup team AZ Plosion in the AAA/Open Class and finished with a 17.9 average. She was recently coaching the 4way family team Luau Confusion, and that's where her new story begins.
Melanie Curtis commented her experience with the team in the article, as well:
"Team Luau Confusion to be exact! Comprised of the Olsen Family, Fred (inside center), Crystal (point), Nate (video), Chris Clark (outside center), and Rich Hubert (tail). Based in Jumptown, MA, this crew definitely cares about what counts, and knows to enjoy their skydiving path, no matter where it takes them. That, and team unity never looked so luau! Nice booties. Love your style."
Then she continued with her thoughts about teams in skydiving.
By Melanie Curtis,
Skydiving and Life Coach
Just scratching the surface of what it takes to run and participate in a skydiving team project at any level, one of the members posed a great question rooted in genuine concern: "How serious is too serious?"
We've all seen those 4-way teams on the plane, all in black, white gloves, eyes closed, their hands moving around in some mystery motion on the ride to altitude. As young jumpers, we can easily look at those skydivers, at skydiving teams, and think, "I could never do that." Or, "I just want to have fun," implying that team training is in fact not fun, based on its serious exterior. Or maybe you've never had one conscious thought about being on a skydiving team because you assumed for whatever reason it just wasn't possible for you.
Regardless of who you are, if you are true to yourself and communicate your goals and desires to your teammates, you will be able to determine a team plan that works for everyone. Sometimes people's goals don't align and that's OK too. It is very common for 4-way people to shuffle around the competition community as their goals evolve, and new fits are formed.
The truth is...fun and serious are not mutually exclusive when it comes to success in our sport. In fact, I firmly believe teams who have more fun are more successful in their skydiving too. I have experienced it personally many times on my own teams... Adrenaline, Eleven, Jedi, FLV, Monkey Business, Dysfunction, Speedy Kids, Plosion, and countless times with my students as well. It's good sh*t.
The other truth is...it's fun to be good. I tell my students this all the time, not to sound like a cocky a**hole (there's plenty I'm still working on too!), but to inspire them to keep going, to keep building their skills, to keep learning more. Teams are a petri dish for great skills...jumping with the same people, measureable goals, consistent training, etc. Sure, it's not "fun" to go through that period of sucking at anything new, whether it's 4-way, head down, big-ways, swooping, or whatever else...but doing that work, getting "serious" for some of your time in the sky, is the gateway to way more fun than you could ever have not going through it. And teams simply magnify that progress, and therefore magnify our future fun. Boom.
Talk to your teammates. Decide your goals. Have fun. Do the work. Earn more fun. Simple as that... I'm serious! Hehe Tizzle 2.0, out.