I make it a habit to remind my students and our great staff at KCKPS: If we want something bad enough, we have to push past our doubts and perceived limitations, and just go get it. Well, I had the chance to walk my talk this week when I was invited to fly with the Blue Angels.
It is a high honor (no pun intended) to be invited to participate in a flight with one of the Blue Angels. I knew I couldn’t say no. But, I did not actually believe I could make myself get into the plane, let alone stay in it as it taxied down the runway! You see, I am inflicted with a severe fear of heights. I avoid roller coasters and most tall structures. As a kid, I could not ride in the back seat of an automobile without some very unpleasant reactions. My lifetime inability to conquer these limitations has left me on the sidelines, disappointed to lose out on far too many experiences. Even simple pleasures like enjoying the view of the Great Lakes from one of the magnificent lighthouses on their shores has eluded me over the years.
So how in the world could I accept the invitation to ride with the Blue Angels? I said yes, telling myself, this is no big deal, but I was filled with trepidation. I watched videos of others’ experiences, and those videos just elevated my concerns. The night before, I seriously considered bailing. But I pressed on.
When I walked into Kansas City’s downtown airport, I discovered the Angels had arranged for an alternate for me, just in case. Well, that was the final push. It’s one thing to doubt myself, but when someone else doubts my ability or determination, I get filled with the, “I’ll show you” attitude. I am ever so grateful I did.
I had an amazing experience flying with an extraordinarily talented crew and pilot. I must admit, when we took off at a 45-degree angle and made an immediate sharp left turn around downtown KC, I wanted to scream! I may have for all I know. But when I looked out, the view was absolutely gorgeous! We climbed, turned, and went through a few of the acrobatic moves. We could have done more, but I was hesitant. At the end of the day, I know my flight wasn’t the most aggressive. But the mere fact that I pushed past my fears was so rewarding. As we climbed and turned, I reminded myself of a chant I often do with our students, “I can become anything I chose, focus and effort is what I must do.” I pushed myself to focus on the moment and enjoy every minute of the experience.
Thank you, Blue Angels, for such an amazing experience! I will forever keep this adventure in the forefront of my mind as I face the day-to-day challenges in my job and in life. Thank you for your service to our great country. The professionalism and expertise demonstrated by the Blue Angel crew is a model for us all. The Blue Angels have a motto that I plan to adopt: “The sky is the limit – seize the sky.” And remember, reaching our dreams and conquering our shortcomings, well, “It’s Up to Us!”