Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Memory, Fatherhood, and roller coasters
So Magic Mountain is going to shut down the Colossus roller coaster this summer, probably in preparation to demolish and replace it with a fancy new coaster.
Colossus holds sentimental value for me. I rode it as my first "big" roller coaster when I was 10 years old, with my dad.
I still remember being silently freaked out on it at first; not knowing how to deal with the intense falling sensation at the drops, so I would just grit my teeth and squeeze hard on the restraints, not really enjoying the ride. Dad saw this and happily shouted at me (over the din of the clacking coaster) "You gotta let it out, son! Scream! WOOOHOOO!". I did that on the next drop, and it really helped. I was even more encouraged as we rolled back into the station when he laughed and told me he was so proud of me for being brave. I remember bragging to my friends and family that I had ridden that roller coaster, mainly because my dad had been so encouraging that he had made me feel like I'd accomplished something great.
Aside from sparking a love of roller coasters, I look back on this memory now and take it as a lesson on how to be a good father. By being patient and providing good suggestions at the right time, followed by a warm reward (his pride), Dad helped orchestrate a really positive experience that became a lasting memory for me. And in retrospect I can see it as having bigger life implications: Don't try to hold back the sensations of life when you feel like you are not in control. . . just embrace the chaos and take whatever enjoyment you can out of it.
Also, this was the first time in my memory where I had a legitimate want (I wanted to ride the coaster), coupled with a significant fear (it was intimidating and scary), and my dad helped me to gain the confidence I needed to get on the coaster in the first place and to make it through the ride. This had a positive impact on my confidence in taking on new and exciting/intimidating experiences throughout my life.
Holy smoke I sure wish there were a way I could guarantee that I can somehow have a similarly positive impact on my kids before I die.
. . . so to sum up I think I may need to visit MM some time before August 16.