All of the sudden, there in my hand, was the most coveted ticket in the Super Bowl Village; a zip line ticket. After several failed attempts to get tickets, I had one in hand and was taking steps to face, head on, a fear of heights that never fails to create anxiety.
I have two friends and my daughter to thank for the ticket: one friend for actually getting me to the ticket, another friend for putting the ticket into my hand and my nine year old daughter for giving me the inspiration to take the step toward my fears. It is her bravery, when faced with scary things she doesn’t understand, which helps me understand that the fears you have must be confronted or you can never move forward.
In the days leading up to our first attempt to get tickets, my daughter had been thinking about taking the plunge down the zip line. She’d carefully calculated risk/reward of a thrilling flight down the steel cable above Capitol Avenue with nothing between her and pavement below but a plastic helmet. She’d decided the risk was worth it; she absolutely had to go.
We started out on Sunday (the week before the Super Bowl) heading to downtown Indy and the Super Bowl Village with the hopes of getting two tickets to an unknown experience for both of us. Soon after we left, she complained of a mild stomach ache. As we got closer to downtown Indy, the stomach aches became cramps and moans from the back seat. When I asked her “what’s up?”, she asked me if we could head home so she could take a nap (and absolute never in her book). We returned home.
After lying on the couch for an hour, she quickly got up, came to me and said she was ready. But, she had one thought; what if she let go?
And there it was; it was out there. Her fear of an unknown that included potential injury had been conquered by the sheer desire to overcome it even without fully understanding.
I quickly explained that there needed to be no concerns; that the harness she would wear made it perfectly safe; it protected the lives of untold thousands of construction workers, rock climbers and skydivers every day. So, once again, we headed out to the Village.
Nerves were gone when we strode onto Capitol Avenue and under the zip lines. We were immediately greeted by a rider hanging overhead after not quite making it the platform. My daughter looked up, then turned to me and proudly said “That doesn’t’ scare me”. As we continued to the launch tower which grew taller and taller, she gaze going higher and higher I heard her say “That’s not too high”.
Finally, we approached the ticket booth only to find a sign that said “Allotted tickets sold out for the day”. She was crushed.
Fast forward to Wednesday night and, with the help of my friends; I stood 90 feet above pavement, my toes just over the edge of the platform. The proof that finding a way to overcome my fear of heights can come from an unlikely source firmly was entrenched in my mind. If my daughter could take the plunge without understanding her fate, certainly I could put my foot forward by thru rudimentary understanding of statistics.
I stared out across downtown Indianapolis; at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of Super Bowl XLVI; at the Super Bowl Village below; and at the hotels gracing the skyline with pictures of the Lombardi Trophy and huge roman numerals. I had risen to one of the greatest vantage points to see the show Indianapolis was putting on for the world because taking little steps towards your fears can help overcome insurmountable obstacles and letting your fear control you will limit your vantage point.
On cable 4, I saw a friend released and in a flash was gone; my heart rate jumped. On cable 3, my friend stepped forward and disappeared down the cable; “what if?” popped into my mind. On cable 2, my friend took a step and before I knew it was 50 feet away; now I felt a calm settle over me. I was ready to overcome a fear that brings anxiety whenever I cross a bridge or approach a sheer drop.
I stepped forward with only the faith that thousands of riders had raced down this cable, the engineers had built in a significant safety factor and the team that harnessed me and performed the safety checks were experts in what they do; that I was safe and had nothing to fear.
I took a step forward and I was hurling down cable 1 on a 650 foot guided path to the lower tower. In a blink I was the past the ¼ point and starting to twist. All fears had evaporated and all I could do was concentrate on getting turned back around. I hit the half way point and started thinking about how to ramp up the experience and, lifting my legs and leaning back rotated upside down while hearing the throng of onlookers beneath start to cheer! As I raced past my friend on cable 2, I brought myself back to horizontal and slowly glided into the station.
Amazing! It was probably the most exhilarating experience I have ever had; there is no way to explain in words the rush of adrenaline coursing through my body.
And … now I’m hooked and taking my daughter back with me.
Hopefully, if she has any fears, I’ll inspire her to take a step forward and take the ride of her young life.