Thursday, December 29, 2011

No. 889 – Bring It On

Performer: Seal
Songwriters: Chris Bruce, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin, Carmen Rizzo, Gus Isidore, Seal
Original Release: Seal II
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: None

When Debbie and I went to Cedar Point in July 1994, I was excited for a number of reasons. First, I hadn’t been to an amusement park in seven years, and I hadn’t been to Cedar Point in more than a decade, because Beth didn’t like roller coasters and I had moved away.

But second—and more important—I was eager to see Debbie again. We had clicked at the Rush concert 2 years before, but at the Reds game a week earlier, we started to find that we really had a lot in common. And that discovery changed things a bit for Cedar Point. At the Reds game, we were friends, but Cedar Point felt more like a date.

Anyway, this is where my work schedule worked to my benefit: We went on a Monday when there would be fewer people. Debbie took the day off, and we left first thing in the morning to maximize our time at the park.

I always preferred Cedar Point to Kings Island, and part of the reason had to do with the difficulty in getting there. It’s right on Lake Erie, and back in the day, there was no direct way to get there. Consequently, it wasn’t as crowded, and less crowded equals shorter lines. As far as I recall, I never had a three-hour wait for anything at Cedar Point, like I had endured with The Beast at Kings Island.

In 1994, the big ride was the Raptor, a new twisty bottomless hanging coaster. It was near the entrance, and Debbie wanted to hit that right away. I couldn’t do it. I hadn’t been on a coaster in seven years; I had to start small and work my stomach up to it.

That meant starting with the Corkscrew—the world’s oldest triple-upside-down coaster. Sure, you go upside-down, but the first drop is nothing. It’s a good way to show your stomach that this was how it was going to be. After that came the Gemini, which was at one time—1978—the tallest, fastest coaster in the world. In 1994, it wasn’t even half the height of the tallest coaster in the park. (Now, it’s a quarter of the height of the tallest.)

I love the Gemini, because there’s a section as you wind back and forth among the wood tracks where it looks for sure as you go down a small drop that if you have your hands in the air they’ll be lopped off by a beam. It’s funny to watch from the side while you’re in line, because everyone—every single one—lowers his arms. It’s an optical illusion, of course. Even if you’re Yao Ming, your hands aren’t going to hit the beam. I kept my hands up.

After the Gemini, we graduated to the Magnum, which at the time was the baddest hombre there. I wasn’t sure I was up to it, but I wasn’t about to fly the wuss banner. But as we rose the 200 feet on the main hill, I started feeling a sensation that would later in life become all too familiar when encountering high, open spaces. It quickly passed, and my arms instinctively shot into the air.


(To be continued)

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