The 12-Step Jump


When my brother and I were young, we used to be very creative around our entertainment options.  We didn't have smartphones or tablets to play with all day, or even video games to play in front of the television set.  A transistor radio was a huge technology back then.  I even remember when the Sony Walkman came out.  That was a big deal.  For us, creating our own games became a pretty usual habit.  One of them was the 12-Step Jump.  Have you heard of it?  This one is actually quite dangerous so I would not recommend anyone pursuing it and this is why we were always getting in trouble. 

In the mid-70's, our parents made renovations to the house we lived in by increasing the size of the master bedroom and adding an en-suite bathroom that was as large as their bedroom.  For the construction, they ordered a huge mound of sand that was dropped off by the side of the house in front of a tiled stairwell that lead to the side patio.  The sand dune was huge. 

One day, my brother and I bet each other we could jump from the top of the stairwell all the way to the sand hill.  It was about a 12-step jump.  First went my brother, he jumped from the fifth step down to the sand.  He made it.  I wasn't as convinced that I could do it so I jumped from the seventh step down, closer to the mound.  I made it too.  It wasn't that bad and quickly lost my anxiety.  We took turns starting further back until we jumped from the very top of the stairwell, 12 steps away.  We had to run from the back of the patio to be able to jump the 12 steps in front of us to reach the sand.  The feeling of flying was intense, something we had never felt, and we wanted to fly longer every time we did it.

Jumping off from the very top wasn't enough.  Once we were comfortable enough with the length we needed to jump, we then bet each other we could jump the furthest away.  My brother won of course, and ended up full of sand as if we had been rolling at a beach all day.  There was no choice but to take another shower after that. 

Looking back, I now value this experience with my brother even more for what it meant in other layers besides just the pure enjoyment of a game.  These were the learning years where the foundations of brotherhood, love and friendship began to form within us.  We didn't fight or felt bad because one of us lost in the game, we just enjoyed the experience and moved on to the next.  We didn't judge each other or utilize put-downs to make the other feel bad just because one of us won or lost.  After all, it was just a game.  But was it?  Isn't this what life is about?  It is not about winning or losing but doing what is right with respect for one another.