HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

July 2, 2007

The 'thrill' of coasters

Well, I finally did it.

It’s okay for me to die now, because I have done the most practical and “how could you not have done that?” thing on my “to do” list before I die.

I, Samantha Schommer, rode the Wild Thing at Valleyfair.

Not only did I ride on the Wild Thing, two whole times, might I add, but I rode on the new coaster, the Renegade, as well as the Extreme Swing, the Corkscrew, the Excalibur, and several others.

Some of you might remember a column that I wrote last year at about this time, saying that on my list of things to do before I die included a ride on the Wild Thing.

I thought I would never be able to do it, because, honestly, I really don’t understand the “thrill” of a roller coaster.

Some people can go on these rides without a second thought and have just a jolly good time.

But for someone such as myself, it takes more than just a second thought; it takes about eight million thoughts to be convinced to take on such a treacherous feat.

Like I said, I don’t understand how people can find roller coasters exciting.

Once that lap bar comes down, you are stuck for three minutes in a seat that many other brave souls have sat before you.

The first hill brings you up and drops you a “pee in your pants scared” 207 feet.

The feeling of your stomach not being attached to anything, just freely floating within your insides is just a little bit unsettling.

That first big hill is probably the worst part of a roller coaster ride to me.

They all have one, and that downward decent into a fiery pit of doom, is not what I would call entertaining.

After the first big hill, you are flying at 74 miles per hour up and down and all over the place, just praying for it to be over.

Did I also mention that there is a tunnel?

Yeah, not only can you not see where you are going, they go ahead and take your picture in there too.

Needless to say, my captured expression is not exactly something I am proud of.

So why on earth did I put myself through this horror?

Well, for one thing, I had to do it to prove to myself that I’m not a complete and total chicken.

For another, I had to cross something off of my list this summer.

And still another reason, I was basically convinced by my boyfriend that it would be “fun” and “not the same without you.”

Peer pressure, I tell ya. Don’t worry though, he left each coaster with a couple bruises on his arm from the death grip that I had on him, while screaming my face off.

But actually, the whole ordeal turned out alright because I finally accomplished something that I used to fear so much.

And I have to admit that part feels pretty darn good.

However, I still have yet to acquire the “thrill rider” gene, if such thing exists.

Which brings me to the question of why do people put their bodies and minds through the misery of what is called a roller coaster?

Why do people think it is so fun?

I sure didn’t enjoy the experience by any means, but I endured it to please others and accomplish a feat that I had been scared of.

Some will willingly go on these rides . . . like 27 times in one day. True story.

Well, I cannot provide an explanation for this insanity of “thrill seeking,” but whatever floats your boat, I guess.

But for now, I think I will keep my feet on a solid, unmoving ground, for a while.