Feb. 6, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Having jitters heading into your first collegiate game of a new season is natural.
That’s especially true for a freshman, who is beginning her collegiate career.
Don’t be surprised, however, if freshman first baseman Karly Fullem is a little more composed than most first-timers this weekend, when the opportunity comes to get on the field or to the plate.
It takes more than a Division I pitcher — no matter how good — firing pitches at her to rattle the Suwannee, Ga., native and former three-sport star at Buford High School (she also played basketball and tennis).
“I’m pretty adventurous,” she said. “I like roller coasters and pretty much anything new, I guess. So I’m pretty adventurous.”
Fullem showed just how adventurous back in December when she celebrated completing finals by joining her two older sisters, Katie (24) and Kristen (23), in a skydiving excursion at Skydive the Farm, in Rockmart, Ga. (near Rome).
The idea wasn’t hers. Her oldest sister, Katie, gets the credit for that, but she certainly got her money’s worth out of the adventure.
“It was so much fun,” she said. “[Katie] just got the urge to want to go skydiving. She asked me and [Kristen] if we wanted to go. We thought she was messing around, just throwing the idea out there. Little did we know, she had actually booked it. It was kind of an in-the-moment kind of decision, but it was so awesome. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It was terrifying but at the same time, it was thrilling. I had the biggest adrenaline rush.”
As if the idea of jumping out of a plane isn’t enough of a rush, Karly and her sisters also had to race against the clock, getting precious little time to absorb the instructional video and other instruction, get properly fitted for their parachutes and other landing equipment, as they were racing against incoming bad weather.
“We were told everything we were supposed to do,” she said. “When I say it happened fast, I don’t want to make [the instructors] sound bad, because they did a great job. They were very professional.”
Karly and Katie went first, boarding a plane barely big enough to hold them, two other jumpers and the cameramen shooting a video of the jump. She recalled receiving instructions on what would happen once leaving the plane, how to hold her arms during different stages of her fall, and how to land. From there, adrenaline took over.
“It all happened very fast,” she recalled. “It was very nerve-wracking but it also was extremely exciting.”
Fullem said her parents, were completely on board.
“It was a little bit nerve wracking for them, too. But you’re more likely to die in a car crash than to be on a plane,” she said, admitting that last part wasn’t included in her sales pitch to her folks. “I thought they’d be more like, ‘No, it’s not a good idea,’ but they were really excited for us. We’re all growing up and living on our own. So they were excited that we got to do something special like this together.”
Fullem said she’s eager to go back and do it again. But that can wait, as there are other challenges ahead.
The next one comes this weekend, when she gets on a plane with her teammates bound for Tempe, Arizona and, after making a more conventional landing, begins the process of helping Georgia Tech bring home another ACC championship.
“I’m so excited. I have a countdown going,” she said. “[The tournament is] all the way in Arizona, so, of course, you’re all excited to travel. I think it’s going to be a really good season. We’ve been working really hard and I think we’re prepared for what we’re about to start.”