This is a republished piece I wrote in 2014.
There’s nothing like the first time. The fear, the anticipation, the excitement, the worry, the elation when it’s all over.
Now that the summer season is here and our local amusement park is open for another year, I took my 6-year-old son for a walk past the “big roller coaster.” The Vortex isn’t like any of the biggest roller coasters in the world. It’s a drop and a couple of corkscrews that is over in 20 seconds — so you get to do it twice on each ride.
My son was tall enough to ride it at the end of last year, but he was afraid. Now, seven months later, he’s got the courage to do it.
Being the modern father that I am, I palmed my iPhone pointing at him during the entire ride and shot the video above of his first ride on a big roller coaster.
I had taken him on other, smaller coasters in the past. When he was barely two, we did the kiddie coaster, and he was white-knuckled. Of course I took a video of that.
When he was four, I took him down the log ride promising him the water goes outside the boats, not in it, and he got soaked. I took a video of that.
I call it “being a bad dad.” Playing a little trick on your kids that will bring short term fear and anger for long term fun and enjoyment. In the past I was bad, convincing my son to go for it. On this first ride on a big roller coaster, it was all him. He wanted to do it. He made a bee-line for the big green machine when we got to the park. He was all smiles after the ride was over.
And perhaps now the tables have been turned. Because, while I was eager to have him do coasters as a kid, I can no longer stomach them. After our ride on the Vortex that afternoon, my tummy did corkscrews for the rest of the day. Touché son. You’re big enough to do it on your own when we head back this weekend.