Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vineyard Misadventures: the time i did a belly flop in front of at least 50 people

Back in the good ol' days of June, when summer was new and bright and there were few tourists but the weather was warm and the beach was inviting and tourists had not yet sucked the life out of all those who work on this island, I went to the beach with some of my roommates.

The water was cool, and the current was strong, and my friend Ben and I decided to let the water carry us down the channel over to the big bridge that leaves to Sengekontacket Pond. This bridge is famous for its role in the movie JAWS, and it's also where anyone who is anyone and has ever come to the island of Martha's Vineyard has jumped from.
Photo via

I started jumping from this bridge every season since I was about ten. But this specific day, the stars aligned and disaster struck.
"Let's jump of the bridge and then let the current carry us over to the pond!" Ben's always excited about this kind of stuff; everything is an adventure.
So we climbed up the jetty and made our way through the jumping crowd. Ben executed a beautiful backflip, eliciting applause and impressed cheers from the people on the bridge. He surfaced and began to tread water against the current and waved appreciatively.
"Let's go, Stephie!" He called out to me, still on the rail.

As I attempted to launch myself off the rail, I lost my footing, thus rotating my body forward. As the water rushed up to meet me I realized a crushing reality: I was about to belly flop into the channel. And flop, I did. I surface with blood running from my nose, whip lash, a bruised chin, a bruised thigh, my whole body tingling from the smack of the water. The crowd was quiet.

"No! Are you alright!?" Ben was there for my rescue. We floated under the bridge together, both of us laughing (me half crying). I looked up just as we were about to disappear from view and caught a glimpse of the crowd: stunned and disgusted.


At least it makes for a funny story. Kind of.

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