Monday, August 12, 2013

Shockwave (Six Flags Great America) June 3, 1988 - 2002

   Shockwave opened in 1988 as the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster.
Standing 170 feet tall and reaching speeds of 65 miles per hour as well as a record-breaking seven inversions: three vertical loops, two corkscrews and a boomerang. Shockwave was closed and dismantled in 2002.

     Shockwave was my first "big"coaster experience. It was during the summer of 1995 and my uncle took my sister and twelve year old me to Six Flags in Gurnee, IL. The whole way there I was talking a big game like "I love roller coasters" and "I've been on soooo many coasters. I'm not scared." Well my coaster résumé at the time consisted of The Mountains at Magic Kingdom, and a few wild mouse style coasters at local fairs.
   That being said we finally got to the park and I see this incredibly huge coaster with three giant loops protruding out into the parking lot. My uncle sees me looking at it a informs me that it will be the first roller coaster we go on that day. I was overcome right then and there with a "screw that" feeling. I did anything and everything I could to avoid going on that coaster: "Hey Uncle Rick, let's go on the bumper cars.", "Hey Uncle Rick, the line for the log flume is short.",  "I'm hungry",  "Who's down for more bumper cars?" didn't work. We still ended up in front of Shockwave. That's when it hit me " Hey Uncle Rick, I have to use the bathroom." And it worked he let me use the bathroom, such an idea of pure genius, why hadn't I thought of it sooner? Except I didn't actually have to go, and the line for the restrooms was pretty long so hiding in a stall for a while was out of the question.
     I walked out defeated, resigned to my fate. We get in line and we're getting closer and closer. The panic sets in and over and over I futilely try to use the bathroom gamble again...he ain't buying it. We finally get strapped in, the ride car pulls forward and I shut my eyes as tight as I can. When I finally open them we're halfway out of the second loop. The panic was gone, the terror was gone, all the apprehension I had felt was stripped away and replaced with exhilaration and excitement. I absolutely loved it and I've been a coaster addict ever since.

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