A dare takes flight

Jim flies with the greatest of ease... or does he?

SEATTLE - They fly through the air with the greatest of ease at Seattle's Emerald City Trapeze, the site of a DareDever viewer challenge.

Trapeze student Stephanie Busch challenged me to take a blindfolded leap of faith. It took a team to get this dare off the ground.

"Don't think. Just listen," advised my instructor, Benny Searle.

I had just a few days to prepare for my blindfolded date with destiny, and I was struggling just to learn the basics. Major mess-ups resulted in what they called the "monkey stamp," an inky blot on the back of the hand meant to remind the recipient of essential lessons learned.

"I deserve that," I said, after ignoring a key timing call from my instructor, which resulted in an awkwardly inverted dismount in my safety harness.

If I were to do it again, the second stamp would be placed right between my eyes.

"Nobody wants a monkey on their forehead," I muttered.

Finally, show time. I was about to try a forward straddle whip release and catch – blindfolded - for the first time, in front of an anxious audience.

The announcer's voice filled the room.

"The Great DareDever!"

I took a deep breath, then one giant leap into thin air. At the command of my "catcher," swinging on the opposing trapeze, I flung myself into the abyss. Then, as my hands latched around his forearms, I realized I'd survived. And another DareDever dare had taken flight.


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