I was fifteen the first time I ever rode a roller coaster.
I had plenty of opportunities to ride one when I was younger. I lived less than a half hour away from a major theme park and went to Disney World at least once a year. My brother was riding roller coaster the minute he was tall enough. And my mom was happy to accompany him.
My dad, on the other hand, couldn’t stand them. He hated the way they turned his stomach so I was content to wait with him while my brother and my mom rode as many roller coasters as they could.
I went on a field trip when I was in ninth grade. My friends were all so excited to ride all the rides and I made my best friend promise to force me to go on a roller coaster. No matter what I did or said, I had to ride a roller coaster. I had to find out if I liked them. And I had to face one of my biggest fears.
So I did it. I rode the roller coaster. I was scared to death. I closed my eyes the entire time and I don’t think I breathed the entire time. At the end, I thought, “That’s it? It’s over?”
Truth was, I loved the roller coaster. It was so exhilarating and fun! I couldn’t believe I had wasted so many years being scared of something so exciting.
After riding that first roller coaster, I was hooked! I went on 3 more roller coasters after that and couldn’t wait to try out the coasters at Busch Gardens. I’m still not a big fan of drops, which is the main reason I haven’t tried Sheikra. I couldn’t handle that drop!
I don’t think it’s an irrational fear because I’m sure many people have the same problem: the fear of falling out of the roller coaster and plunging to my death.
A few years ago, I had gotten onto a coaster and strapped myself in. Well, I thought I had. When the technician came around to check my straps, I hadn’t. The belt hadn’t been clipped in. Of course, he fixed it and, obviously, I didn’t end up falling out and plunging to my death. But ever since then, I’ve had this fear of falling out of the coaster.
I spend my time waiting in line, not worrying about the twists and turns and drops on the ride but whether or not I will live to see the next day. When I get on a ride, I spend those 2 minutes or so, clipping in the buckle, pulling down the harness, and pulling on both like crazy to make sure they are keeping me nice and tight.
I make sure my heart is right with God. I ask Him to forgive me of all my sins and I barter with Him of everything I will do if I survive this ride.
Once the ride starts, my heart drops and my palms start sweating. It’s such an awful feeling, not knowing if something will happen to the ride and you’ll die. I know this is normal but it just gets me thinking, is it even really worth it? Is it worth it to worry and get scared to death like this for a 30-second ride?
Sometimes, I think not.