We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

← Back to all stories
Photo ofAvery Fitcher

“We’re almost at the top!” said a man two rows in front of me, as the roller coaster thumped against the tracks. A soft gust of wind blew through my hair, as my view changed from the sky high above to the ground far beneath me. A bright light flashed in my face, and my stomach dropped. My legs felt weak, as goosebumps traveled down my back. Screams spread from the front of the roller coaster all the way to the back in a wave.  I was now facing the ground that felt like miles beneath me. I shut my eyes as tight as I could and gripped on to the rubber handles in front of me. No turning back now.

Going on trips are fun, but leaving home can be tiring. Soccer trips aren’t normally about going to amusement parks and facing your fears, but then again life doesn’t always make sense. I am the type of person that likes to go out of their comfort zone, but I do have some unwritten exceptions. If I really don’t want to do something I won’t push myself to do it, and I won’t let others push me. Heights aren’t exactly my fear, but who really enjoys the thought of plummeting to the ground? Nothing in my soccer bag would have prepared me for going on the tallest roller coaster in the whole park.

The air that day was so fresh; it wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t cold. We blasted the music all the way to the park. When we finally arrived, a sinking feeling rushed through my stomach as I heard the screams from a far distance. I hopped out of the car and looked up to see a big yellow roller coaster that was significantly taller and steeper than all the other roller coasters. “Oh we’re going on that one for sure!” said Emma standing next to me, looking at the same one. I might have been scared but I was definitely excited too. I nodded my head yes. 

We went on what felt like all the roller coasters but a couple. My right hand had a bar of chocolate and my left hand held the map of the park. I was having an amazing time. “Okay, so we just walk down this path and we’re there,” I said to the other girls, directing us all to the final roller coaster of the day. I wasn’t too nervous yet because I saw how long the line was and I had gotten used to the roller coaster feeling. But as we started to move higher and higher up the line, my nerves kicked in. I started to feel dizzy and everything around me felt like slow motion. I wanted to back out so bad but I kept telling myself that I would regret it. 

It was time. We were at the very front of the line. My legs felt shaky and my breathing got heavier. There were only two spots to sit- the front or the very back. I knew both would be bad. We walked quickly to the last seat on the ride. I sat down and pulled the bar over my head until it locked. The recording started blasting, but I could barely understand. Moments passed, and there was a loud whoosh noise following the roller coaster beginning to move. Everyone started to cheer, and at that moment I knew that I would have no regrets today. The roller coaster started to move up to the highest point of the whole park. I felt so free, as if nothing was holding me back. At that moment I realized that sometimes you have to take risks to really have fun.

© Avery Fitcher. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.