Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dad parachutes into Son's Baseball Game

Tandem Parachute landing

Dad to parachute into son's baseball game

By T.J. Aulds

The Daily News
Published April 14, 2009

SANTA FE — When Roy McCulloch was offered the chance to toss out the ceremonial first pitch at one of his son’s baseball games, he promised to throw a high and tight fastball. No one thought he meant the pitch would come from 4,000 feet high.In what is apparently a first for a Galveston County high school baseball game, the professional skydiver plans to deliver today’s game ball after jumping out of an airplane and landing in the outfield of Indians Stadium. He’ll then toss the first pitch to his son, Brett, before Santa Fe takes to the field against La Marque.McCulloch has been skydiving since 1991 and has more than 1,400 jumps under his parachute. As a member of the Re/Max Skydiving Team, he is used to jumping in on all sorts of events, including NASCAR races, college and pro football games and even the debut of the Houston Dynamo soccer team.So, to add a little lift to his son’s team, he decided to take the tradition of letting players’ dads toss the first pitch at home games to new heights.“I was talking to the superintendent (Leigh Wall) last baseball season and suggested it, and she said it sounds like a great idea and to go ahead,” McCulloch said. With the game ball stashed in a fanny-pack, McCulloch will swoop in with teammates Larry Tiltzki, Rich Delgado and a guy named Rock. The jumpers are calling themselves the Indians Skydiving Team.The team has plenty of experience with 10,000 jumps between the four men, but this jump took a lot of coordination.“You have to file paperwork with the FAA, have to have insurance and get the permission from the school,” McCulloch said. “It’s a big paper trail to get everything filed and get the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”The weather has to be good, and winds can’t be blowing at more than 20 mph or the event will be little more than a plane ride above the field. With Al Saylor at the plane’s controls and a ground crew on radios reporting wind conditions, McCulloch said the plan calls for the jumpers to come in with tight turns called spirals and to land close to second base.While he has had tighter jumps, landing on a baseball diamond with its fences and small landing zone presents a challenge for McCulloch and the team. Especially since the ballplayers will be lined up along the baselines.“Everybody has to be stationary on the field,” McCulloch said. “If not, they become a live moving target.”Excitement for the jump has been building since Santa Fe Coach Ronnie Wulf announced what was going to take place.“We have been hearing from a lot of people who are bringing friends who would not normally come to a baseball game,” McCulloch said.

*I went to see this. There were 4 parachuters in all. This Dad has definitley set the bar for coolness points. My camera couldnt quite get the shots so I am hoping the newspaper gets some good ones I can share with you all.

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