Felix Baumgartner, You’re My Hero*Monday, 15 October 2012
Right now I am reeling from a day of watching history being made.
Keith wrote very eloquently about the wider impact of Space travel on a young mind and it is one of the rare times I actually agree with him. The young DO need magic in their lives to inspire them. They need the extraordinary and the phantasmagorical and things untainted by economy or common sense or Health and Safety.
The choices are pretty few and far between for the current generation but yesterday there was a small glimpse of that magic.
Yesterday, a man went into space in a balloon … and then jumped out of it.
Well you can paint that horse any damn colour you like but I like to think a big part of it was JUST THE HELL BECAUSE!
|(c) Red Bull Stratos|
When I was little, my dad used to get the Sunday Times every week and I used to steal the magazine. I loved the stories about glamorous and daring celebrities and I especially loved the stories that ended in tragedy.
I was something of a gory child.
One of the stories that stuck in my mind was illustrated by a series of photos showing a boat cartwheeling, the quote underneath describing the pilot as being decapitated in the process. The man was of course Donald Campbell in his failed Speed Record attempt on Coniston Water.
It wasn't just the gore that captured my imagination though, it was about making sense of why: Why did he do it? What was the point? Who would risk their life so willingly?
I was left, as I often am when I come across a tragic story, with a curious feeling that sits in my gut and refuses to let me forget. Of course many years later my husband would turn out to be enough of a land speed nut to overshadow any interest I might have, but I wasn't to know that. I never did forget about Donald and his last dramatic moments.
Yesterday I was once again left slightly awestruck by the ease with which people can set aside their personal safety in the pursuit of something special.
Why did Felix Baumgartner skydive from the edge of space?
I don’t really care.
I just hope my children will remember that they lived in a time where people still did amazing things, just because they could.
*As Cameron Frye almost once said