Most of you would never have this happen, and some might, but would never admit it publicly. Over the past two show seasons, I’ve gradually made a change in my opening maneuver. What started out as an occasional effort to gain more energy by dropping down lower became the norm. I started to notice that my downline was getting more and more cramped, but didn’t connect the dots. I was feeling uncomfortable in the pullout knowing that I was on the edge, but still didn’t connect the dots. Finally, a friend who shall remain nameless, gave me a thumbs down. Among other things, he told me to increase my altitude on the entry maneuver.
On the next performance I did as I was told, jacked it up 100 feet and, wow, what a relief. That uncomfortable feeling that had been nagging me was gone. I had allowed my opener to change, very slowly, but change nonetheless. Maneuver creep had taken away my margin for error and mechanical failure. It took a stern look from a friend to break the cycle.
When a friend takes you aside and says they are concerned, take it to heart. Take a look in the mirror. It actually feels pretty darn good.