In The Blink Of An Eye

February 18, 2013

By Joey Bland


The following is what ran through my head while I was upside down:

But first, maybe, I should give some context.

At the University of Kentucky, I practiced with the National Champion cheerleaders. I trusted them. If they said to try something, I tried it. I barely hesitated when they said, “We’re gonna flip you over, OK?” After a two-second negotiation about how that would work, I jumped. Then I was upside down.

So again, here’s what ran through my head:

I am upside down. A second ago I was right side up. Did I agree to this? Did they ask me if I wanted to do this? No. No, they didn’t. They told me I was gonna do this.

Where are my feet? Oh, yeah, they’re up there. And look down there. There are all their feet. Lots of cheerleader feet down there on the ground. How did I end up being the one flying?

I guess to them, a backflip is like walking. They must spend half their collegiate lives upside down. I saw them practicing earlier. It was flip after flip. They probably do backflips in the shower. They probably throw each other from one class to another. They can fly. And look at me; so can I. I’m flying!!!

Wow. Is [Coach and Legend] Jomo [Thompson] looking at me? Is he impressed? Could he tell that I was terrified when they said, “Jump!”? Of course he could. Anyone could tell that. I did not play it cool. If I’d had time to think, I would’ve nixed this whole thing right away anyhow. But then I wouldn’t be flying right now. Which I am. I am. I am flying. I can do anyth…

And BAM! The Eagle had landed — terra firma. I was back. Upright and pumped. In approximately 20 seconds’ time, the cheerleaders had told me I could fly, made me do it, and made me stoked to be alive and at UK. They are that good. And I’m ready to go again. That’s not a flight you can do just once.

Heart Still Racing,
Joey Bland

P.S. What’s the scariest thing you’ve tried in the last year?

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