Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This is The Drop Tower at Kings Dominion. The picture really doesn't do it justice. According to their website it's 
The largest drop ride in North America, a 305-foot tower of thrills that promises daring riders a 272-foot descent at 72 miles-per-hour! This adrenaline-pumping adventure simulates the sensation of skydiving. 

If that's true, I won't be going skydiving. Ever. I thought for sure I'd like it since the Hollywood Tower of Terror - also a drop-motion ride, was one of my favorites. But that one dropped and then went back up, dropped again, then went back up. It was fun. I went on The Drop Tower, or as I like to call it The Tower of Death, with my daring seven year old daughter, who BTW, was well within the height requirements for the ride. 

My first clue should have been the women who panicked and asked to get out just as my daughter and I were heading towards our seats. The Ride Guy had to unlock her to let her out and they put me in next to the guy she had just abandoned on the ride. 

I snapped the thing closed and my maternal instincts kicked in as I checked and re-checked my daughter's straps to be sure she was in securely. All the while, the guy next to me keeps up this constant chatter about how this is "the scariest ride I've ever been on" and "it makes me want to die". No wonder the chick with him jumped out! And just about the point my panic reached the "I have to get out of here" stage, the ride started and I was stuck.

I grabbed my daughter's hand thinking that if I was panicking how was she doing? Meanwhile, the guy next to me will not shut up. He's giving me a blow-by-blow about how many seconds it takes to get to the top and how long we'll linger there looking out over Kings Dominion before we drop to our deaths.

Then we dropped. And I mean totally and completely dropped. And it went on forever. I had never been more scared on a ride in my life. And not the fun kind of scared. The terrified kind of scared. But I had my seven year old to think about so all feelings of panic and fear were stuffed inside so that I didn't react. (besides the scream on the way down!) Not because I didn't want to admit it, but because I didn't want to scare her. But once we reached the ground safely (Thank you God!), my daughter hops out of the seat smiling, with only a little bit of nervous laughter. "Did you like it?" I asked her.

"Yeah! My legs are all shaky," she said.

I felt shaky all over, and a wave of nausea coursed through me just to add to the thrill. I spent the next hour telling my husband how scary it was and declaring that I'd never go on the ride again. My seven year old was surprised I was that scared, since she didn't think it was too bad. I even skipped out on the Rebel Yell because I was still feeling woozy from the whole thing.

I'm not sure that I have some profound spiritual point. Got any ideas? I mean, I'm okay. But I won't ever go on it again. Give me a nice loop-de-loop roller coaster and I'll be happy. But I am curious - what about you? Ever been on a scary ride? Ever done something that was really scary and then it turned out okay?
Tell me about it, maybe it will make me feel better:-)


Maridy Carpenter said...

Actually, those drop rides are WAY worse than skydiving. In sky diving, there is a brief period of stomach rolling sensation, and then you reach terminal velocity and there is no more sensation of falling. I'm not sure how, but the drop rides are so much scarier. Maybe it's because you are strapped into something that is so much heavier than you and you therefore actually drop faster than you would on your own. Not sure of the physics, but it sounds right to me.

So, my insight? Don't be afraid to try new things because of past experiences. Sometimes what you've already been through is so much worse than that thing you are scared of.

Star-Dreamer said...

I once went on a similar ride at six flags in chicago. I was sitting next to my brother. As we reached the top, he smiled at me and told me to hold my breath... see if we could hold back our screams all the way down... it didn't work. We held our breaths, but when we dropped it forced the screams out of our throats! It was kinda cool, but each time I go back, for some reason I can't make myself go on that ride again. I wonder why...

Jan Kern said...

You are one brave lady! I have rapelled down cliffs and loved it, but to drop 272 feet at 72 mph . . . um, no.

Insight? Let's see. I agree with Maridy--be willing to try something that scares you. Look for those things in life that God calls you to that feel like a 272-foot drop at 72 mph. For some, that might be getting up in front of a group at church and sharing the story of God's amazing work in you. For others, it might be going into the inner city and sharing about Christ's message of salvation.

We all have those things that take courage we don't feel we have on our own. And we have people (like your daughter) who are watching to see if we're willing, with God, to take the risk. Let's strap in and go for it!


Sarah Anne Sumpolec said...

Excellent ideas! Keep 'em coming!

The whole thing also made me think about how sometimes we face hard situations because of what we choose. I chose to go on that ride and therefore had to deal with the consequences of my stupid choice. Which leads me to - be careful what you choose:-)

Debbie said...

Are you kidding me? I couldn't imagine doing that! A family friend took me on a rollercoaster ride when I was 7 and I was terrified I was going to die. I started crying and screaming. I haven't been on a roller coaster ride since, which is more than ok with me. :)

Debbie :)