A multidimensional man
Even though the blast of cold air rushing through the doors didn’t seem too inviting, Randy Roth jumped out of that airplane more than 25 years ago, and he hasn’t stopped learning and adventuring since then.
Roth, a native of Jesup, knew that he had a lot of things to check off his to-do list before his time on earth was up, and he got an early start by trying sky diving in 1978, when he was just 20 years old. After getting married and graduating from Simpson College in 1983, Roth was hired by Principal Financial Group Inc., but he was far from “settling down.”
“You learn a little bit more every jump you take,” Roth said. “The first eight to 10 times or so, your mind is on overload and you hardly remember what’s happened.”
But, Roth says, the adrenaline rush you feel upon landing is so unforgettable, you want to experience it again.
“You’ve got this huge adrenaline rush that’s making your face hot, and you can feel it for three days afterwards,” he said.
Since then, Roth’s completed 605 jumps and developed some new pastimes – scuba diving and tae kwon do – to complement his other outdoor interests, all while juggling a family and a new negotiation business he helped start: Corporate Contracts LLC.
“A lot of people will get on a track where all they want to do is one sport or one thing,” he said. “They may become the expert at it, but to me, that’s one-dimensional. To be multidimensional, you do as many different things as you can, learning from one and taking the lessons from that into the next, maybe becoming better at that next thing because of what you’ve done in the past.”
Roth said he has learned valuable lessons about himself through the sports and other activities he’s incorporated into his life.
“You’re constantly learning something about yourself, nature and others around you,” he said. “Sky diving shows you how you perform under pressure. Tae kwon do teaches focus. Scuba diving teaches self-control.”
Roth continued sky diving pretty steadily through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, he said, when he stumbled upon tae kwon do, a Korean martial art his oldest son, Gabe, then 7, had taken an interest in. When Gabe tired of it, Roth’s younger son, Ben, was ready to start.
“I said I was just going to try one eight-week session, but then we tried another one and another one after that,” he said. “All of a sudden, it gets in your blood.”
Roth enjoyed the mind and body workout so much, along with sharing the activity with his kids, that he’s continued with it to the 4th dan (degree) black belt level. Roth is an instructor now for Martial Arts America.
“I still do a lot of tae kwon do,” he said. “It was a good thing to do with those guys and it kept me going with them.”
Roth also combined his interest in adventure with family time with scuba diving, something he started more recently. He was going to Australia for work, so they decided to make a family trip out of it. Roth didn’t want to miss out on the chance to dive at the Great Barrier Reef, so he and Gabe took scuba lessons in Des Moines and then dove together at the reef.
Roth said he had to learn to adapt to the slowness of scuba diving, since so many of his other interests focused on speed. Since the first Australia trip, Roth’s wife, Annette, and younger son have also tried scuba diving. The family also enjoys water and snow skiing.
He says the key to doing it all is not getting too carried away with one thing, and remembering what gets top priority.
“Family is most important,” Roth said. “You have to make sure that your family stays intact and you provide a good family life for your kids, and if anything really starts impacting that, you either stop doing it or you curtail it to a reasonable level.”