A Tandem Instructors Perspective

At the age of 36, with almost half of his life spent in the sport, Rogers Stack has a few things to say about his time as a Tandem Instructor. Below he shares his progression in the sport, his perspective on first time tandems, and what he personally does to ensure a long prosperous career. Rogers has experience working and fun jumping at multiple dropzones, which allows him to fully appreciate the unique opportunity to work and live in a community like Skydive Chicago. Let’s dig in! Rogers made his first tandem jump at 18 at West Plains Skydiving in Washington State. Soon he’d earn his A license and make about 4,000 jumps, gaining 
experience he hadn’t yet realized would become building blocks for his future career in skydiving. Unlike his previous careers in lumber distribution and another as a manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement, Rogers saw his friends lifestyle and thought “I wanna do that. They get to go do cool stuff, have time off, and make their own schedule.” Starting with a coach rating, and shooting video on the weekends, his new career was now in its infancy.

Already experienced in customer service, Rogers found there were actually very few aspects where skydiving and traditional retail didn’t overlap. Reading your customer and being able to cater the jump to what they will enjoy is an art that Rogers has mastered. As he adjusts his energy level and demeanor to cater each personality, he seems to ride the emotional roller coaster throughout the day. For him, it keeps each jump fresh as he reminds himself that “in reality, it’s all about them.” So when asked what his favorite part of the Tandem’s experience is, it’s no wonder he had the following to say:
“Right after opening, when I can talk to them and I can see their excitement level. Right after opening is when you get the most genuine person… that’s when you get to see the real side of people. People can act how they want on the ground, once the jump happens, that’s when you get to see who they really are.”

Rogers Stacks

Today, with more than 9,000 skydives, Rogers mindset hasn’t changed as he answers the question about his outlook on his career: “I wanna do this as long as I can. I don’t really see myself stopping.” To accomplish this, he exercise discipline in all areas of his life.
“I always loved having a beer at the end of the day, [but] one turned into six and then late nights… it’s fun, but that’s what takes the biggest toll on you, not the tandems. I’m 36 now, which I’m still young. But I’m getting to that point where if I don’t make a change, my body’s not going to respond well to it. So for me, giving up the alcohol was probably one of the easiest things to do, it was a lot easier than I thought.”
Having more time for things like the gym, getting things done around the house, and overall being more productive has helped him strike a balance not always easy to find when working full time in the sport. When the topic of getting bored with his job came up, here is what he had to say:
“It’s just like any other job that anyone else would do, There’s days I wake up and I don’t want to go into work, but the difference is that I push myself and as soon as I step out that door, I get to realize how fortunate I am, there’s people all over the world that hate their job that do it day in and day out and don’t stop. They don’t ever get the experience having the joy side of their job. I feel very fortunate about that aspect”

Rogers Stack 9000th Skydive

With 17 years in the sport, Rogers has had the opportunity to visit and work at multiple drop zones across the country including: West Plains Skydiving in Washington, Pacific Skydiving in Hawaii, Meadow Peak skydiving in Montana, Skydive Sebastian in Florida, and now his home at Skydive Chicago. When asked why he chose Skydive Chicago:
“It’s the best…you don’t grow up in this sport and not know about Skydive Chicago… [People stay for] the family, the community… it’s hard to come here and not just love this place… community cookouts, events, everybody is like family here. We all care about each other, look after each other. It’s hard to have that and not want to stay…This place is pretty awesome, man, all the people I work with are great, high energy. Rook does a lot for all of us, makes sure we’re happy, does events for us, and we have the best facility in the world. It’s hard to get burnt out here.”

Rogers Stacks fills out tandem student's log book

Thinking about that first tandem? Rogers has some advice for you:
“Get pumped! Try to be relaxed as possible but be excited. Definitely eat something… have something in your stomach. Be ready for what’s coming because it’s probably going to change your life in some way or another.”
How will skydiving affect your life? Rogers says: “I think it gives people at the end of the day a little more confidence to go do other things in life.”

So what are you waiting for? Come on out and jump with Rogers while enjoying the community and all the fun events we have lined up! Book online today!

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