Many of you have heard of a stage mom/dad or cheer mom/dad but have you ever put any thought as to what it's like to be a tunnel mom/dad. As a little tunnel rats father, I have had the opportunity to meet many little flyers and their parents. Having one common factor, our kids are bad ass, no matter what level they fly at. Yes, your child might play baseball or be on a dance team and yes, they might be amazing, but our children fly and play ball and dance in the wind. Fearless children with one thing in common a lust for excitement and thrills. We at PussFoot will be bringing you some amazing story's regarding indoor skydiving and the people and families across the globe that are involved.
Tunnel Kids a family that flies together stays together
When I found out that I was going to be a father, I sat there pondering how I would fit work and play in around being a father. Let's face it once you commit to becoming a parent, life is no longer about you as a parent. It became all about the child, how do I give her everything I had/have and more. Fast forward 4 more years and two more beautiful and amazing daughters. You that's right I have three girls all under the age of ten.
Ryan and her Hero Amy Chemelecki
When we first had Ryan, I was hardcore into jet skies. I traveled everywhere and spent most of my time on a body of water. This had to go I could not include my family. Slowly I sold off all the toys and began to focus on my kids. I would do anything to just be with them, and I mean anything. I even began to teach religious Ed just to spend time with them (yup beard Mohawk and tats teaching religion).
Our youngest rocking Turbolenza
Following the super dad mentality, in 2015 I bought our first family camper. A far cry from the family truckster, but it was ours. On a weekend in June 2015, we pulled into a campground in Upstate NY. All of us were amazed at the skydivers falling above, but my oldest daughter Ryan was on a different level. "Dad they are flying, You should go try it." With that being said, I instantly got in my truck and headed over To Skydive the Ranch and so began my new addiction.
Ryan & I on EX official page
Keeping up with my dad status I would make sure to have my family present for all my jumps. I will never forget the day Ryan looked at me shortly after landing. "Dad GIRLS are Jumping!" That was I, I knew I had to find a way to allow her to fly. The next day I booked Ryan and I a flight to Arizona. One look at the tunnel and that was it, she was hooked, I never truly had seen Ryan smile until that day. Ryan currently has me beat, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Ryan currently is flying two times a week at iFly Westchester. She is Sponsored by Vertical Suits, Cookie Helmets, and Extreme Official. She has taken my passion for human flight and allowed it to blossom into an art.
The most important aspect of being a parent is allowing our children to follow their dream and chase a goal that they as individuals can only set for themselves. With Ryan wanting to fly and post to her Instagram acct, her sister Ashlynn (my middle daughter) has been inspired to become a tunnel photographer. And our youngest Teagan says that she is Ryan's Biggest fan and cheerleader. Family dinners have become something outrageous as well, Flight is always a topic when we aren't talking about photos or horses. My wife and I talk often about that day in Gardiner and how different our family would be if we didn't take a chance, for me skydiving and for her allowing me to let Ryan fly. If you ask anyone in our family, none of us would change a thing.
Let your kids try new things. Allow them to fail. Trust me they will be ok and hey you might just wind up like us. A full-blown sky family. Ryan has come a long way and will continue to grow. Seeing her fly in the tunnel effortlessly, when only a few years ago we were told she might never walk right or have a normal childhood, Was worth the chance. She has come a long way and traded in a wheel chair for wings.
Make sure to come say hi to Ryan and I in Tampa 2017 for the IBA sunshine showdown.
"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it." -- Peter Pan
For more pics and info on Ryan check out the links below