Was I ballsy or just stupid for doing this--dive off a high bridge?

Inspired by this thread, where a fat guy asks advice about taking a deep jump into a pit.

It got me thinking about when I dove off a bridge as a younger man. Most responses dealt with jumping, but as a stupid younger guy in my 20s, I dove off the Rte 50 bridge near Annapolis on a dare.

Background is the clearance on this bridge ranges from 40 to 80 feet and I’m guessing that at about halfway to the center, I probably launched myself headfirst at about 60 feet above the river.

I was friends at the time with some great skiers and surfers, and I did not have the technical skill to ski back country “triple diamonds” or huge waves.

My friends would call me a pussy for not skiing down these slopes or going out in 20 plus waves.

My attitude was that’s just stupid, because I don’t have the technical skill for that, but I’m not a pussy.

I asserted that a better test of “balls” would be diving off a high structure like a bridge, since this did not take years of skills development, like skiing or surfing.

Either you would dive or not–and it came down to whether you were a “pussy” or not. Besides some basic body alignment skills, which we all recognized we had.

My satisfaction is that I was the only one who did dive off this bridge, and my hard-core skier friends only jumped.

But, in retrospect, this a bridge people have committed suicide off of and, checking the depths charts on the Severn on the location–only 15-25 feet, makes me realize how stupid this was, even though as soon as I hit the water, I was bending my body to surface. Scary, that I had no idea how close I came to breaking my neck on the bottom…

So, I’m interested in hearing about others’ experience with doing stupid shit to prove they were not a wimp.

What other tests of physical courage that don’t need technical skill–like mountain climbing or whatever, which I will probably not be interested in at my age, is there?

Diving off a bridge that people use to commit suicide has rank up there.

(Any USNA grads out there, being familiar with the bridge?)

I guess I should add that being in combat situations by guys in the military are on a totally different plane. I’m thinking of everyday potential civilian experiences. Thank you for your service.

Was I ballsy or just stupid for doing this–dive off a high bridge?


Stupid. Most every stunt that can be explained by the phrase “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.” is stupid.

Jumping headfirst off a 60’ bridge with no experience doing so is stupid. It’s also ballsy.

But mainly stupid.

True. I think I barely just missed qualifying for a Darwin Award. And I do, in a perverse way, enjoy reading them.

But the question about is it a test of courage/ballsyness still stands.

If you successfully complete the stunt, is it ballsy or stupid?

It gave me a brief modicum of local fame as I can remember being at a Navy football game where some graduates gave me looks of disbelief until multiple people testified they had seen the dive

Is Laird Hamilton stupid for surfing 80’ waves?

I’m obviously not in his category of doing unbelievable shit, but where is the line drawn between stupid and “that’s a guy pushing the envelope”?

I’ll just say that I had some experience with high dives–mostly 10m and I have done flips and gainers from this height. I was also an experienced and comfortable swimmer and making the 200 yards or so back to shore was not a big deal for me.

I was not a total yahoo, but yes 60’ was new height and alcohol was involved in the bet.

Definitely ballsy. Likely also stupid.

Ballsy since you are alive.
Stupid if you had been paralyzed.

That’s too high for an inexperienced diver, and you apparently didn’t know how deep the channel was and could have killed yourself on the bottom. I vote for stupid. I’ve approached a mated pair of Alaskan moose way too close, so I really can’t criticize.

This rings truer to home than for me you may realize.

I know two guys who broke their necks doing stupid diving stunts. One, off a roof into a pool and who should have known better, but it was a stupid stunt like mine.

What got me was looking at the the local depth charts of the Severn River years way after the fact and seeing the depth was only 15-20+ feet. I must have been far enough out–meaning a higher dive–that I was on the deep end…

I’m just glad I knew enough to bend my body and make my surface move as soon as I hit the water and I’ll never know how close I came to hitting bottom…

Stupid, perhaps incredibly stoopit.
Oh, & lucky…but still stupid.

Well, as I just mentioned, I didn’t know the depth, but had seen sailboats with decent keels cross it–still very stupid of me not to know.

What’s an “experienced” high diver? See post about doing gainers off 10 m.

Can’t help you with amorous moose…back away slowly, is all I can come up with…

“Yeah, and if he dared you to jump off of a bridge, would you do that too?”- MaSmooch

Question. Answered.

Hey, glad you’re alive… but that was just luck. Guts isn’t going through with something you were goaded into. Guts is getting yourself (and maybe some others too) out of a bad spot that no one asked for and in a way that no one else paid a tall price for.

Wouldn’t this depend on the bridge height?

Who cares if you jump of a 10 foot bridge? We’re talking about diving off a 60 foot bridge.

OK, alcohol was invoked…but how does this make it lucky?

The drunker you were, the further the arrow shifts toward stupid. The more sober you were, the arrow shifts toward ballsy. Except if you were stone cold sober, then the needle swings stupid again.*

*Price Waterhouse Standards And Practices

Diving off of a bridge when you didn’t even know how deep the water was is definitely stupid.

Lucky that you managed to [del]walk[/del] swim away.

Let’s see:
[li]Diving off a bridge high enough that people have died jumping/diving off of <check>[/li][li]Didn’t know depth/underwater obstructions <check>[/li][li]**Drunk **<check>[/li][li]Survived unscathed[/li][/ul]

From your own OP:

What you don’t get is that it could be both. And this was.

But stupid trumps ballsy.

Ballsy is like the little brother to brave in that you need to have some sense of the risk you are taking. Someone who plays Russian roulette with one bullet in a six chamber revolver is not being ballsy if he is so stupid to think that his chance of death is only 1 in ten thousand.

You jumped off the bridge without knowing how high above the water you were, how deep the water was, and alcohol blunted your ability to assess those and any other factors that might have mattered.

You had no real appreciation of whether there was danger or not. That means you acted in ignorance. Ballsy is knowing what the risks are and doing it anyway. Nobody gets credit for taking big risks when they do not have a real understanding of what risk is involved.