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Did You Know...

... that Dan BC's unique skydiving story comes in a book and a movie?

Dan BC with Jack Jefferies at the USPA Nationals 2010
posted Apr 29th, 2011 - Dan BC's NSL Profile was one of the earliest on the NSL website, maybe the first one of all. His career story is so fascinating and unique that this was no surprise. The Dan BC story has been told many times inside and outside of the skydiving community. It is about time for an update of Dan BC's NSL Profile, as well...

He is not an active full time competitor any longer. However, he has an agenda that might be busier than ever in his life. It's not only the coaching job and his management involvement at Skydive Perris that requires a lot of attention. He has added several other projects to his list not too long ago.

It's not new that he is leading the Dubai 500 big-way world record efforts, as the NSL News reported on 26 March 2011. The preparations for this big project continue as planned and reported.

Dan BC after the accident
It is also not really new that Dan BC and Mary Pat Avery have been working on a movie that shows the story of his life to the general public. The title of the movie is "Above All Else", and it is still in development.

The Above All Else website provides its own storyline, which will be used for the movie. It surely is more dramatic than the NSL Profile, which focuses more on his career as a competitor.

However, Dan BC's life had very dramatic events related to skydiving, and the NSL Profile has given those events attention, as well. The moviemaker's perspective and the storyline is explained at the website with a synopsis:

ABOVE ALL ELSE - the movie

ABOVE ALL ELSE

MIDWESTERN OHIO, 1986... Skydiving instructor and competitor DAN BRODSKY-CHENFELD, 24, takes his young protégé JAMES LAYNE, 14, on his first jump. James is like a little brother to Dan. Dan recognizes great talent in him and declares, "James, mark my words. You and I are going to be world champions some day!"

Dan's parents encouraged their kids to find what they love and do it one hundred percent, but Dan's chosen interest has them more than a little concerned. Nevertheless, Dan remains steadfast in the pursuit of his dream.

But trying to be a champion skydiver in Ohio is like wanting to be a world-class snowboarder in Florida. Dan leaves for sunnier skies but promises James that he'll have a team ready for him when he's old enough to compete.

Airmoves poster before the accident
ARIZONA DESERT, 1991. . . Dan, now 29, and his intrepid four man team (known as 'AIRMOVES') compete in the annual National Skydiving Championships. Dan's arch-rival is a talented skydiver named BLAKE DAVIDO, captain of the perennial national champion team "VENGEANCE", a heavily sponsored team. Dan's team has never beaten Vengeance. Leading the competition going into the final skydive, AIRMOVES suffers defeat yet again after a last second mistake in the air costs them the title. The team's morale is crushed.

As Dan struggles with the loss, Blake offers Dan a chance to join Vengeance. After Blake suggests that Dan can only win a national title with his help, Dan rejects the offer. Later, Dan meets up with his on again/off again flame, KRISTI, 30, a talented skydiver in her own right. We find out that Dan had once kicked Kristi off his team, which is still a source of great friction between them.

After the championship medals are awarded, the dispirited members of Airmoves decide to go their separate ways. MIKEY TRAAD, 24, wants to finish his college degree and the others are weary of being broke and living a nomadic lifestyle to chase their elusive dream. Just when all seems lost, Dan is approached by the owner of Perris Valley Skydiving Center in southern California with the offer of a team sponsorship. The dream is re-ignited.

"Grueling training regimen" - Dan BC coaching
Dan quickly assembles former teammates TROY WIDGERY, 24, a clean-cut, shy business entrepreneur; TOM FALZONE, 32, a former football player; and RICHARD STUART, 35, their Australian cameraman with a vivacious spirit.

But his secret weapon is James Layne, his young friend from Ohio who, at 20, has grown into a handsome young man and very talented skydiver. This is their longtime dream, to win the National Championships together, and the chance to train without financial limitations is once-in-a-lifetime. But James has never before left his home in Ohio, and he and Dan must convince James's mother, Rita, that this is an unparalleled opportunity. Initially balking, Rita reluctantly gives her blessing.

In California, Dan puts his team members through a grueling training regimen. With only a small number of practice jumps under their belt, Airmoves ties Vengeance at a thrill-packed preliminary meet. With their confidence soaring, it's evident that Airmoves will be the team to beat at Nationals.

News media at the crash site
Between training sessions and coaching other teams, Dan attempts to court a resistant Kristi, but she's concerned that love for her will always come second to his love of skydiving. Dan tries to prove she's wrong, even asking her to marry him. She declines, though somewhat playing with him.

The next day during training, the plane the team is riding in crashes just after takeoff. Sixteen skydivers are killed - young James Layne among them. Dan sustains severe injuries - a broken neck, cracked skull, collapsed lung, and other internal injuries. He hangs between life and death, lapsing into a prolonged coma. Tom and Troy miraculously survive with a few broken bones. Richard missed the plane when his camera helmet broke on the prior jump. His replacement cameraman died in the crash, a twist of fate that haunts him.

The community of jumpers is devastated. They hold a memorial service for friends and family and hundreds show up. Some continue to jump but only half-heartedly. Their spirits are broken.

Back to Perris in recovery time
Dan is in a coma for six weeks. In the coma, Dan finds himself suspended in freefall but not descending. James Layne flies up to him and tells Dan that he is gone, but Dan is not, and that Dan needs to "Get back there and get on with it. Go get control of the situation." He tells Dan he loves him and to relay his love for his mother . . . and not to worry because he is going to good places.

Dan awakens to find his head caged in a metal halo brace, a device worn by patients during recovery from a neck fracture. In time, Dan leaves the hospital. Despite the halo brace, Dan begins to reassemble his team for the upcoming National Championships. His friends think he has lost his mind, but nobody has the heart to discourage him. He calls Mikey to take James' place. He coaches other intermediate teams, who are inspired by seeing him face his injuries with such courage. With Kristi by his side, Dan struggles to get back into jumping shape himself.

Dan contacts Rita, James' mother, who is having difficulty coping with the loss of her son. Her grief is all-consuming and she can't help placing much of the blame on Dan. He struggles with this emotionally and it takes a toll on him.

Dan BC back in action with the Airmoves
Dan's physical rehabilitation takes a step backwards when he is forced to have surgery to fuse his neck vertebrae. The doctor declares that without it, one wrong move could leave Dan paralyzed. Despite this setback, Dan is adamant that his team stay focused. Their resolve is boosted when Troy finds a quote James had carved in his desk: "The hardest part about winning is just showing up." Another skydiver takes Dan's spot on the team so they can continue to practice.

One week before the Nationals, Dan rides in the plane with his team, coaching them as they climb to jumping altitude. Unbeknownst to them, Dan follows them out after they exit. The pilot immediately radios down to alert the skydiving center. Alarmed, the owner prepares her staff for a 911 call.

The team's shock turns to elation seeing the enormous smile on Dan's face. They join hands in a circle, overjoyed at being reunited with their leader. On the ground, word has spread throughout the skydiving center, and friends and co-workers converge on the landing area. Despite their worries, Dan lands safely without incident as the assembled crowd cheers him on.

In the plane with James Layne
The excitement comes to a head at the 1992 National Championships, only seven short months after the devasting crash. Airmoves squares off against Vengeance. The first few rounds find Airmoves steadily losing ground.

In a strategic decision, Dan rotates in on the next jump. While walking to his first competition skydive, Dan suddenly stops short and stares into the bleachers. Rita Layne, James' mom, locks eyes with him. Dan meets her with an enormous hug. Tears flow, but not one word is spoken. Dan returns to his team with a new fire in his step.

In a surprise move, Airmoves pulls off an amazing, never-before-accomplished maneuver which catapults them into medal contention. Everyone is blown away. Round by round they inch ahead until it comes down to the final jump. The teams are neck and neck up to the last second. But Vengeance pulls ahead by one point. Airmoves takes the silver medal.

Three world meet gold medals with Airspeed in 8-way and 4-way
Dan and his team walk in from the jump, dejected and stunned. The crowd is so silent you could hear a pin drop. Suddenly, one person begins to cheer, joined by another, and another. Soon the entire crowd is on their feet for a deafening ovation...a celebration of Dan's triumph over seemingly impossible circumstances and his team's astounding comeback.

Regardless of scores and medals, Airmoves are clearly Champions of Spirit. The applause echoes as the team moves to meet the crowd. Locking eyes, Dan and Kristi walk into each other's arms. Dan asks Kristi again to marry him, and this time, she says yes.

Epilogue: Two years later, Dan and his team finally win the national title. Dan went on to win six World Championships. He and Kristi have two children, Chloe Layne and Landen Jack.

PLAYING TO WIN - the book
Dan BC's story of the accident and the recovery surely is the stuff that makes good movies, and it will hopefully run very soon in the theaters.

The movie production was still not the only project that kept him busy on top of his skydiving activities. He has also written a book in the meantime, which will be released this fall and can be pre-ordered by now.

"PLAYING TO WIN" is also based on his life experiences with skydiving. However, it is not a novel and has a different topic, as the short biography at the on-line bookstore explains:

"In 1992 Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld's team Airmoves was involved in a plane crash that killed 16 of the 22 people on board. Dan recovered from critical injuries, rebuilt his team and went on to win multiple National and World Skydiving Championships.

He has used the lessons learned from the passionate pursuit of his dreams to help others achieve their own goals in all aspects of their lives including personal, business and relationships."

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