Some people really like roller coasters. Some do not. I find myself a fan of these super beasts but now, at 54 years old, I prefer to sit on the bench with the other scaredy cats and wait for the kids to tame the steel or wooden behemoth. I say I prefer to stay behind...but that’s not always what happens. 

We found ourselves in Ohio for the President’s Cup soccer regionals over the last week. My son played hard and he and his team were great sports - even though we lost a crucial game vs. Kentucky in a PK shootout. My daughter was along for the tournaments as well. I thought I would treat them to a day at King’s Island theme park before we headed for home.

The anxiety began when I saw the peaks of the roller coasters over 4 miles away. This can’t be good. How fast does it go? What’s that first drop like? Can I win some new underwear by a ring-toss booth? I might need them! These questions and a thousand more rolled through my mind going through the gates of the famed amusement park. Apparently, King’s Island is home to one of the fastest coasters in the midwest with a top speed of 91 mph. Another one boasts a freefall of over 300 feet. My kids excitedly said that one of the coasters was "one of only seven 'Giga coasters' in the whole world. I didn’t know what this meant but I reached for my blood pressure pills nonetheless.

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But ultimately did what most dads would do on Father’s Day. You do what your kids want you to do. I went on all six of these coasters and earned a parental merit badge for screaming with my kids for an entire afternoon. The metal clanking on the way has got to be the worst for me. “Don’t look down, dad!”, my kids would laugh. Then the heart-in-your-throat first drop.

After a few hours of seeking out the next fiercest tangle of wood or steel, I was a hero dad (to them) and conquered a fear of heights all in the same day.

The next day we made it back home to Sioux Falls and my wife could not believe I rode those coasters. She knows my fear of heights usually wins out. I don’t think we will ever forget Father’s Day 2021 for some time to come. It will be known as the year Dad rode 6 extreme roller coasters with his kids - and made it. And no one puked - which is key.

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