I have been riding roller coasters since I reached the required height of 35”, and that forever changed my life. I never realized that these cars that traveled at high speeds along steel or wood track would become one of the most important aspects of my life. I love the feeling as the anticipation builds while waiting in line, and as it continues to build as the coaster car makes the trek up the lift hill; the feeling of seeing that first drop as we near the top, how my heart starts pounding; and how it feels when my heart drops to my stomach as we fly down the first drop. After that, I raise my hands and let gravity control the rest of the ride for me.

This isn’t a passion that I just developed on my own, but with the help of my dad. He was the one that really opened my eyes to everything roller coasters and even introduced me to the club - The American Coaster Enthusiasts. He has taken me to ride some very intense roller coasters that have helped me conquer my fear of going upside down. He has introduced me to roller coasters that defied everything that we are taught, such as wooden roller coasters cannot go upside down. He has introduced me to roller coasters that are not the greatest, but still something that is a “must ride” to be able to distinguish the good roller coasters from the bad ones. All of this has helped me not only create a bond between him and I, but a bond between me and all roller coasters.

Roller coasters have also taught me some life lessons. On a roller coaster ride, there are high points that whip down into low points, but bring you back up again, or around a corner just to flip you upside down and take you back to the station. Life is similar to that, with highs that become lows, but you never stay down for long. Something always happens to bring you back up. Some people see roller coasters, and life, as this scary thing, but I have conquered that fear. I have learned that we have to have lows so that we can have highs. Or maybe something happens that flips everything around, but we always land back on our feet again and we have a new perspective on everything. Sometimes, we aren’t expecting what comes next, but we have to take it as it is and keep going.

This lesson was a hard one for me to learn, but it is one that helps me through my life. Roller coasters are not only my passion, or how I answer the question, “what do you like to do for fun/what are your hobbies?, but how I handle things when life gets hard. I have learned that something better is always around the corner, whether it is a better coaster or a better aspect of the ride, but something is always there, waiting to be experienced. I have learned to stop being afraid and to start trying new things and experiencing everything that I can. It turns out that some of my favorite roller coasters are the ones that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy or the ones that I would have been too afraid to try. But I face my fears and try them anyway. Without roller coasters, my life may have been on a straight path, with no deviating from it, but instead, my life is full of flips and twists, highs and lows, and I am forever grateful for roller coasters for helping me find this path.