I recently went to Six Flags Over Georgia with several family members and some friends and all their children. I think all told we had 14 people including nine kids aged thirteen and under. We decided to go to an amusement park on possibly the hottest day of the summer AND it was after one of the kids had just gotten back from a week-long camp. As you can see, exceptional planning on our part!

Actually, it was mostly a lot of fun and we had just a very few melt downs (these may or may not have been the adults…).

For the most part, I stuck with the younger kids and was limited in my exposure to the “big rides” but eventually I did find myself in line for “Superman.” As I stood in line I was able to watch (but mostly listen) as people were riding Superman.

If you’re not familiar with Superman, this is a steel roller coaster (get it, named after the man of steel) and it simulates flying by having the passengers positioned parallel to the track facing the ground. For three minutes you are hurled through the air at speeds topping 50 mph; raised to a height of over 100 feet; and, inverted, twisted, looped, etc.!

I pride myself on being able to ride these rides and not get too freaked out. At Six Flags I also rode Acrophobia, which is a free fall ride that takes you up over 200 feet in the air; tilts you forward 15 degrees so you are forced to see how high up you are; and, then drops you down (free fall) to the ground in just over 3 seconds. I loved it.

But Superman? Oh my goodness. As we pulled out of the loading station I was fine, but as we were starting to chug higher and higher, the actual thought that was going through my mind was “there is no way to survive a fall from this ride” and that thought just kept going and going and going. I could feel the panic rising up in me. I could feel my heart starting to pound in my chest and I was afraid I would hyperventilate.

This was definitely a time to “affirm my emotion and choose my behavior.” Y’all (I was in Georgia, so this seems appropriate) my emotion was honest to goodness terror! I was so scared. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that kind of fear at the hands of a roller coaster.

So what do you suppose I chose for my behavior? I can tell you that many people were screaming their lungs out. That’s not what I did however. I chose to close my eyes! I tried to open them a couple of times, but quickly realized I was still considering my own mortality should I fall out of this ride, so I slammed those lids shut again and just waited until we pulled back into the station and I was able to get out of that ride.

Turns out, I’m no Superman!

Nikki Wince – Mandt Faculty Supervisor