Risk Not Worth Taking

Column by Connor JaschenFeatures Editor

In my hometown, there were several rock quarries. If you’ve been to one, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t been to one, just imagine a perfect circle of the bluest water imaginable, surrounded on all sides by sheer cliff faces, sometimes reaching up to 70 feet high depending on the water level.

While it sounds like a load of fun, bad things tend to happen in rock quarries; people jump in and never come back, swimmers can catch full-body cramps and drown because the water is so cold and sometimes there are entire structures just beneath the surface that are invisible to those above water.

Needless to say, it is pretty dangerous stuff, if you aren’t careful.

In true form and fashion, though, nothing was going to stop my friends and I from braving the cliffs, so we made the trek to the quarries at least once a week, slipped through the razor wire fence with the “No Trespassing” sign on it and looked down into the abyss of water beneath us.

Every week we would urge each other to jump and for the first few times, no one would. We were teens and we knew what could happen; we had all heard the horror stories.

My friend Joe decided one day enough was enough. So, he made his way to the highest point, had us take long sticks and prod for the bottom to make sure the water was deep enough for him not to hurt himself and readied for the jump.

It took him a few minutes, but he did it. At that point the water was low enough it could’ve been a 60-foot jump, easy. But he did it.

He jumped, crashing into the still top of the water, breaking the otherwise tranquil scene.

Then, everything went quiet again. Joe had disappeared beneath the pool of water.

We immediately began to panic, calling out for him.

It took a few seconds, but Joe reappeared, smiling wide in triumph.

I ended up jumping a week later, but looking back, I wish no one would have.

My last column was about taking the risk despite it not being the safest option, but that comes with limits.

I don’t know what we would’ve done if Joe hadn’t come back to the top of the water, and I don’t want to think about it either way.

Sometimes, the risk can affect more than just yourself. I don’t blame Joe or myself or anyone else for taking that jump. Just realize for every person that does resurface, reality is there are always times when that’s not the case.

A few months after our jumps, someone died in the quarry. No, it wasn’t jumping related, but they ran their car off into the water.

We visited a year or so later for nostalgia’s sake. The top of the water still had a film of oil from the engine of the hidden car.

No one jumped in this time around. Now, the water was black, and if someone wouldn’t have come up, we would never find them.

And those are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.