No matter what happens tomorrow, we can blame Maurice Anderson.
Anderson, 72, was one of my dad’s best friends before my dad died in October 2014. A few months ago, he sent me an email with a link to a New York Times video that showed a bunch of regular people jumping off a 10-meter platform into a swimming pool.
It looked like a psychology experiment – some of the people jumped right off, some paced back and forth, several whimpered, and a few backed their way down the ladder.
“I’ve never jumped from the 10-meter platform,” Anderson emailed me. “Always wanted to and just saw this video. I think it would be quite a rush.”
So we’re doing it Wednesday – Anderson and me and three readers who willingly agreed to join us, no bribes required.
I won’t lie to you, I’m scared. I’ve got a fear of heights, and once crawled a quarter of a mile along a ledge with a sheer drop-off while backpacking in the High Sierras of California. I’m not exactly looking forward to walking out to the edge of the equivalent of a three-story building and throwing myself off. But it’s my Year of Adventure, so I’m going to at least try.
I picked three readers to join us on that platform.
Michael Doherty is a super athlete whose Facebook profile says “Just plain nuts.” “Pick me, because if an 8x Ironman balks it’ll be funny,” he wrote.
So I did. Make me laugh, Michael.
The highest Mia Zmud has ever jumped is the 3-meter high dive about 45 years ago.
“I’ve been facing a lot of challenges lately (with a lifestyle change that has resulted in a 40-pound weight loss, improved nutrition and fitness level) and am looking to challenge myself/build confidence,” she emailed.
And Tzatzil LeMair makes no bones about it – she’s chicken like me. “OK, I will commit – with 100 percent certainty – that I will show up and that I will climb the 10-meter platform,” she wrote. “As to what happens once I’m up there, I have no idea. I’m nervous just thinking about it!”
Wish us luck. A pair of diving coaches at the University of Texas will give us a safety briefing at 11 a.m. tomorrow, then we’ll make the long, lonely climb to the top of the platform. Watch us live on the Austin 360 page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/austin360/.