In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Night and Day.”
Have you ever had an experience that was incredible the first time, but terrible the second time around? Or vice versa? What made it different the second time?
Night and Day experiences are measured by time.
When Six Flags over Mid-America opened April 10, 1976, west of St. Louis MO. The rollercoaster named “The Screaming Eagle” was the fastest and tallest rollercoaster for its time. I rode the three-minute rollercoaster, that reached a top speed of 62mph ten possibly fifteen times a year, for the next five years, and I enjoyed every moment of the excitement.
Fast forward fifteen plus years later, my children and I attend a family reunion, and we visited the amusement park of my youth. I was excited to ride the Screaming Eagle again with my kids, and I boasted about the speed of the rollercoaster.
My son was twelve and eager to ride, yet my daughter aged nine at the time became a little apprehensive due to my boasting and her brother teasing her because she was cautious. However, she was not going to be outdone by her older brother. After waiting in line, we finally take our seats.
My daughter is seated next to me, and my son is seated behind us when he begins teasing her again. I see the concern on her face and I tell my son to stop teasing her.
As the coaster climbs to 110 feet, it slowly turns to begin its decent at 62 mph, and I see nothing but fear on my daughters face. My son yells for her to raise her arms, and when she notices my arms raised, she does likewise, as the coaster descends the hill.
My daughter’s scream of terror is quickly replaced with a scream of excitement and a smile. My children are experiencing the same excitement I enjoyed as a child, and it was an exceptionally happy moment for me, I will never forget.
When the ride ended, they wanted to ride again, and they did. I waved them off telling them I was going to watch their younger cousins who could not ride because of the height restrictions, and their parents would ride with my kids. My son and daughter walked away teasing me yelling I was too old to handle the trip.
What they didn’t realize at the time, and I have never told them, was for me riding the Screaming Eagle was my worst experienced on a rollercoaster. I could not believe how one of the most exciting experiences of my youth had become the slowest, and unexcitable ride of my life. The rollercoaster ride had become the difference between night and day of my youth.
With faster and more powerful rollercoaster rides like the “Volcano Blast,” I rode at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA, with speeds of 70mph. Or the Washington-Baltimore, Six Flags Amusement Park’s,”The Batwing” with a speed of only 50 mph. However, the rollercoaster has a floor-less platform and the sight of seeing your feet dangling above the amusement park below as you travel along provides a new perspective while riding a rollercoaster.
I have ridden other rollercoasters at speeds above 80 and 90mph, but nothing compares to my joy of seeing the excitement on my children’s faces like I had as a child.