Please keep your hands and feet inside the car.

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When The Beast opened at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio in 1979,  it was the world’s longest, tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster.  People stood in line for hours to ride that ride.  There was such a cool factor to being in that line….but I was just 11 years old, and I had not figured out “cool” yet.  I thought I was doing very well to not look terrified!

The wait took hours…hours of rock music, surrounded by teenagers in concert Ts, everybody with long hair and NOBODY looking near as terrified as they should, given their impending doom… and eventually we’d come up to the sign…

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The turnstiles were right around the corner and there was no time left to run, and I remember really hoping my head was below that line!!  I mean really…is it safe if I’m just barely tall enough??  Are we sure about this?  Has anyone tested this theory??

But it’s tough to be surrounded by all those cool people, and not keep going!  Two steps forward, stop, two steps forward, wait.   About the time the pace had lulled me into a trance, we’d come up to the little lines going into each car.  And then…the next thing I know…they’re strapping me in.

I can still feel that my lungs just couldn’t seem to get enough air.

I can hear that tick…tick…tick of the chains.

Then the pause at the top of the hill, with no going back and a long way down, thinking, “Now how did I get here?”

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And then…my hands reaching up FULL ON INTO THE RUSH, and my screams and laughter just blend right in.  Cuz really, how can you not respond with all you’ve got in such a powerful wind?!?!

Life’s kinda like that.

Time and time again I find myself seriously questioning whether or not I’m tall enough.

Time and time again, I’d turn and run if it wasn’t for all the cool people that surround me.

Time and time again, I endure the excruciatingly slow click…click…click of the climb.

Time and time again, the view takes my breath away.

Time and time again…comes the joy of loosing myself in the wind.

There will be that time when you just let go and throw your arms up in the air and lean right in…

But you can’t get there unless you decide to trust that guy… the one who made the sign.

The Beast, with all its roars and rattles, shakes and screams, recorded by Brett Starkey:

What’s your favorite coaster?

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