Just Jump

Pack your parachute for a good cause

 4/26
While many are watching the tube or blissfully sleeping in this weekend, people across the nation are voluntarily free-falling a couple of miles at speeds of more than 100 mph, and not in their nightmares. In fact, Operation Freefall, a fund-raiser for Speaking Out About Rape (SOAR) and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), could be viewed as nightmare prevention, even nightmare escapism in some cases. Seeking an adrenaline rush to help conquer the traumatic memories and aftermath of her rape, SOAR founder Kellie Greene made her first jump a few years ago on the anniversary of her ordeal. She found the adventure so therapeutic Operation Freefall was born soon after. Both experienced and novice divers take to the sky, jump out of airplanes and parachute back to land in an unconventional effort to raise awareness of sexual assault. A daunting goal, considering one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, according to RAINN, which created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, among other services. SOAR makes educational presentations about sexual assault available to colleges, universities, law enforcement and other civic organizations, as well as provides referral and financial assistance to victims in search of nontraditional kinds of counseling. Operation Freefall participants dive at nearly 50 airstrips across the country this year. All divers are tethered to a certified skydiver, so first-timers are welcome. The local drop zone for Saturday's Operation Freefall, a daylong event, is Skydive Dallas, 1036 PR 438, Whitewright, about 40 miles northeast of Plano. The $250 registration fee includes a tandem jump, safety training, all necessary gear and an experienced jump partner, plus benefits a good cause. Call 1-800-656-4673, ext. 3. --Cheryl Smith

4/26
Shred the Lake

I pride myself on being the most seasoned extreme-sports writer among the Night & Day crew, in spirit, at least. I once actually got to review video games, which meant that I was paid to play every version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Matt Hoffman's BMX and Mike Tyson's Ear Snack Party that came out. Still, I hesitated when I heard about the Vans Wakeboarding Pro coming to Fort Worth's Marine Creek this weekend. If an extreme sport doesn't have a video game, what's it worth? Well, roughly $150,000, according to the prize money up for grabs, and the stakes should make VWP entertaining (if not "extreme"). If you dig high-speed, trick-filled water antics, call 407-628-4802 for tickets. --Sam Machkovech

4/25
Field Day

War, as the hawkish rhetoric goes, brings us together in tear-jerking, soul-stirring patriotic unity. We'd prefer an agenda-less way to feel all warm and free and fortunate, such as supporting some local good cause. Take Special Olympics Texas. Its rhetoric is its mission: to help people of all ages with mental retardation enjoy healthy competition in track and field, soccer, tennis and cycling. This weekend SOT is sponsoring 2003 Spring Games for Fort Worth Special Olympians at University of Texas at Arlington's Maverick Stadium in Arlington. Events are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, followed by opening ceremonies from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday's games are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 817-332-3433. --Annabelle Massey Helber

4/25
Chain Gang

Astronomical gas prices have made us wish that our cars were fueled by human blood; we could slowly drain our neighbors and co-workers for a source of cheap, plentiful fuel. Wait, did we say that out loud? Of course, the other option is petroleum-independent transportation. We choose to satisfy our hunger for human-powered vehicles and reduce pollution at the same time through bicycling. Cowtown had the same idea, and is sponsoring a free 12.6-mile Clean Air Bike Rally in cooperation with the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival. The bike rally begins at 11 a.m., rain or shine, at Throckmorton and Fifth Street in Fort Worth. Call 817-871-8570. --Michelle Martinez

 
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