“C’mon, Megan. It’ll be fun.”
“No way.” My friend Lauren was trying to convince me to go on a roller coaster called Top Gun at Great America – an amusement park in the Bay Area of California. We were on a band trip and got to spend the majority of the day riding rides and hanging out. Top Gun did look like an exciting roller coaster, and I liked roller coasters…as long as they didn’t go upside down.
Way back in third grade, I was playing on the bars by myself at recess. I hung from the lowest bar (the only one I could reach) by my knees. The next thing I remember, I was lying on the ground and my head hurt a lot. I had fallen off the bar and hit my head hard enough that it knocked me out for a few moments. But since I was only eight years old, that experience was really scary. I decided to never go upside down again. And that included upside-down roller coasters.
Later in the day at Great America I was walking around with my friend Amanda, who was also nervous about the roller coasters, and my mom (she chaperoned that trip). We ended up in front of a roller coaster with absolutely no line. We checked it out. It did go upside-down; it had three loops. I was feeling bummed out for not having as much fun as my friends were since upside-down roller coasters seemed to be the majority at Great America. “Look guys, no line,” said my mom. Over the next few minutes, she convinced me to go on the roller coaster and once I was convinced, we worked together to persuade Amanda. A few short seconds later, we were strapped in and the cars were on their way.
The fist loop came up and I squeezed my eyes shut tight, held on for dear life, and screamed in fear. I stayed in that position for the rest of the ride. We came back to the dock, and the employee said, “There’s still no line. Want to go again?” Amanda and I looked at each other. We had already ridden it once, so why not do it again?
The second run, I still held on tightly and screamed like crazy, but I was able to succeed with squinting my eyes rather than shutting them completely. When we arrived at the end, the guy said the same thing: “still no line.” We went again.
The third time was different; I now knew there was nothing to be scared of. The loops came, and I stared them in the face. I left my eyes wide open, threw my hands in the air, and this time my voice came out in an odd laughter and screaming-for-fun blend.