My dear readers:
So before I begin my post let me start by saying that I really DO enjoy riding roller coasters. I love a good drop, look and yes, even a corkscrew. But I didn’t always feel that way about these scream machines. Lets take a look into the past as I tell you the dreaded tale of the first time I ever road a roller coaster.
So it was 1999 and I was so excited to be at Busch Gardens. I had heard so many great things about this place. All the animals and the bright colors distracted me from what was to come. I had ventured out to Tampa, FL for a family vacation with my Dad, my Stepmother and all 5 of there combined children for a weekend of Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. We walked up to an area called Timbuktu, that had a very Mediterranean feel to it. I was walking with my head down (small kid, bright sky, it can be hard to see sometimes,) until my Dad stopped, and I looked up. My. Jaw. Dropped. Standing right before me was this (to me) ginormous steel roller coaster with a sign that read “The Scorpion.” Now, I had been on kiddie coasters before and I had a blast on those, so I figured this would be a piece of cake. I ran my mouth during the entire drive up to the theme park talking about how I was going to ride the coaster and I wouldn’t be scared one bit. Boy, was 9-year-old me wrong.
Walking up to the ride was like a death march. I could feel my heart in my ears, and my eyes never left the sights of that loop. I had never been on a loop coaster before, and I was certain it was going to feel like nothing I’d ever experienced. Anxiously, I decided to ride with my little brother Benny who was 7 at the time. He was really nervous to be riding, and it was my duty as his big sister to put on a brave face and ride it through.
As we got into our carts, I noticed that the “lap bar” was just that. A LAP BAR. There were not seat belts, no restraints, nothing. What were these people thinking?! Didn’t they see that GIANT LOOP?!? I was doomed for sure, but I couldn’t let Benny know that. And with a quick push of a button and a gulp of breath, the coaster car took off, and I was petrified.
The clicking of the tracks as we went up the incline sounded like we were in slow motion. I thought their haunting sound would never end. I tried to pull down the lap bar but I couldn’t click it very far. By the time I looked up, we were going down. WAY DOWN. The coaster dropped and I swore I peed a little. I wrapped my arms around the bar and basically clung myself to it. That loop was fast approaching. I held my breath once more and felt my entire body lift off the seat of the car as we looped around. It didn’t help that the steel was creaking from the coaster the entire time. As the coaster shook, spun and dived around, I was having a massive panic attack. What had felt like eternity was only 40 seconds, and it had finally come to an end. The coaster docked, and my dad had to peel me off of the seat, while I shook violently.
To this day I will NOT ride the scorpion. However, I really do enjoy coasters! I think its a great form of therapy for people who need to let go a bit. When you’re on a roller coaster, you can’t really control your direction. It is CHOSEN for you, and you’re just coming along to the ride. I highly recommend Busch Gardens if you’re a fan of coasters like me. But as for the Scorpion, I’d rather wait for you at the exit.