Yesterday, Jess informed me that a teenage girl in Kentucky got her legs chopped off at the ankles at Six Flags while riding the Superman ride. A cable snapped and cut her legs off right above the ankles; she couldn't lift her feet up in time. Yikes. Here's the article.
At the end of last semester, I went with two friends to America's Rollercoaster Capitol of the World: Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. We took a road trip there to go on all the rollercoasters we could handle in one day: I have never felt so nauseous from riding amusement park rides!
The craziest rollercoaster I've ever encountered is called the Top Thrill Dragster. You shoot to 120 miles per hour up a ninety degree angle incline, while twisting, and then shoot down another ninety degree angle, while twisting, of course.
While I'm a huge rollercoaster fan, this ride scared me. I tried to go on it twice while I was there and was ultimately unsuccessful. The line was very long at one point, and the ride broke down later in the day. The coaster travels so fast that they cannot allow bags or personal belongings to come in the line of the ride because they cannot store anything with the cars traveling so fast. You would have to buy a locker outside the ride (which seemed like a money-making scheme that I did not want to play into).
Look at this image here. Is this the thrill we're seeking? It seems almost like a death wish to me.
But it makes me think: How far will we go for a thrill? There is some danger involved, but it's rare that we hear about stories like the 13 Kentucky girl with her ankles chopped off. But what if it was one of us?
Don't you ever think about that when you hit the climax of a ride, the highest point right before you drop, or when you're twisting and turning on a corkscrew and wonder if the rickety ride will actually dismantle and crash to the ground? Or is that why the rides are so scary, because they involve that threat of danger? But we are powerless to stop them, and we chose to get involved in the danger ourselves.
The theme park industry does rake in bags of money, but I think it's too risky of a business to get involved in, just because of the first story I mentioned. I wouldn't want to be involved with law suits and disfigured bodies at my fault and expense. I don't think we ever think we'll be the victim of a random accident, so we take the plunge because we never hear about the horror stories.
Once, when I was in sixth grade, I was stuck on the Boomerang ride (popular to any Six Flags parks). I got stuck right before the ride releases the car to go backwards. I was stuck for forty five minutes in a backwards position with a person I really didn't know who was freaking out and squeezing the life out of my hands on that sweaty, sweaty day. So much for a fun field trip. But I could have been just as much of a victim as this thirteen-year-old girl, yet I still drives hundreds of miles to face the scariest rollercoasters in the nation. Am I crazy, or am I just living?
Is it too much to be so fearful of rollercoasters, as I've stated above, and just to take thrills in life and do it? Look at rollercoasters like a symbol for life: there's always some danger or thrill involved, but if we never choose to ride, then we're never going to experience those highs and thrills. We'll just be sitting on the sidelines, saying we "saw" the ride, but never tried it.
(At the bottom, I'll put a picture I took from Cedar Point. See how beautiful the park is with the water in the background!)
I say strap me in, feel the wind on your cheeks as you accelerate, and feel the tension at the bottom of your stomach as you drop faster than you're used to. We should ride the rollercoasters, right?