I have always loved rollercoasters. This is one thing that I hope I will never lose my love for. As I age, I really don’t care if I lose my taste for spicy food, nor my obsession with the Steelers, nor my affinity for technology. But Heaven help me if I ever lose my love for rollercoasters.
Mere words cannot explain the rush of adrenaline that races throughout every inch of my body when I’m on a rollercoaster. Unfortunately, I’m not intelligent enough to discuss the physics surrounding a good coaster ride. I don’t know how the engineers utilize gravity and magnets to create such an experience. But I’m so very thankful that there are people smart enough to design something that has given me so much unbridled JOY over the past 39 years (actually, probably the last 33 years because my mother is definitely NOT a coaster fan, and although I can’t quite recall, I’m sure that she would not have allowed me to ride them as a very young child. I’m so thankful, however, that my daddy came to rescue my rollercoaster freedoms when I became of school age, because some of my earliest coaster memories involve HIM folding his legs up every which way in order to sink down into the seats of the Little Dipper, a small, wooden coaster housed at Camden Park, located in Huntington, WV. And although daddy never complained about the tight quarters of the Little Dipper, I can only imagine how his heart leaped for joy when I finally graduated to the Big Dipper, equipped with adult-size cars).
Sadly, many people are scared to ride a rollercoaster. They have sworn them off, adamantly declaring, “I do NOT like rollercoasters!” Of those people who find themselves in this category, I would like to pose a question. When is the LAST time you’ve ridden a rollercoaster? I would venture a guess at the answer – never. Or, let me give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you do have memories of riding a rollercoaster, decades ago, when each board of the old wooden coasters would creak and strain under the weight of the cars. Maybe you did try to ride one, back in 1986, and you swore that if you ever got off, you’d never get on one again. Maybe you simply look at a modern rollercoaster today and think, “No way. Not now. Not tomorrow. Not EVER!” In an effort to alleviate some of those fears, let me give you some statistics.
There are 900 million roller coaster rides in America each year. Six of those rides will result in the death of the rider. That’s SIX in 900 MILLION! I’d venture to say that those are pretty good odds of surviving your coaster ride. Even though these statistics should be reassuring, they will not make one bit of difference to most of you who have sworn off rollercoasters. Instead, you will continue living in fear of something that you have no reason to fear. Isn’t it sad how we let fear grip us, thus robbing us of blessings that God had originally planned for us? You may say, “God doesn’t bless us with something as mundane and as literal as a rollercoaster!” Well, I beg to differ with you. There is no doubt in my mind that, when I am on a rollercoaster, God is up there smiling away, thrilled that I am living my life with unbridled enthusiasm, throwing caution to the wind, arms in the air, grin so wide I may swallow half the bugs in Orlando. Yes, He has given me the blessings of rollercoasters, and I plan on blessing HIM by riding them with reckless abandon for as long as I can. Here are a few I rode today (numerous times, by the way!).