Getting punched by the Punchbowl |

Getting punched by the Punchbowl

Arianna Finger
Special to The Aspen Times

One could argue that jumping into the Punchbowl is practically a rite of passage for all locals. Now, I’m not necessarily calling myself a local, because I’m not, but I do have many friends who have lived in Aspen their entire lives. Because of this, they decided that it was my turn to jump off the cliff, which, to a first-timer, looked like it would lead to my death.

As I looked over the edge into the dark abyss of swirling, cold water, my heart was beating so abnormally fast from a mix of fear and adrenaline that I’m pretty sure even the people around me could hear it. I looked over at my friend; as our eyes met, I knew she was feeling the same as I was, even though she had done it countless times already, unlike me. It didn’t help that behind us three kids, who couldn’t be older than 10, were taunting us and calling us names synonymous with “coward.”

Now, at this point you are probably thinking, “She must be deathly afraid of heights” or “Maybe those kids are right; maybe she is a coward.” But, although the height was one of the reasons my heart felt like it could burst out of my chest at any second, the main reason I was psyching myself out to jump was the water itself. The idea of jumping into ice-cold water paralyzed me with fear, making it hard to breathe.

But, if you were wondering, I conquered my fear, and I jumped. It only took a bunch of intrepid youngsters, a lot of name-calling and 15 minutes of internally arguing with myself. The moral of the story is to take that risk. Take hold of the situation you are in, and even if it takes 15 minutes, an hour, a year or decades, don’t walk away.

Arianna Finger recently completed an editorial internship at The Aspen Times. She will be a senior at The Thacher School in California this fall.