Worth the hype?

Megan Fahrney, Executive Sports Editor

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved roller coasters. 

For what felt like ages, I hovered just below 48 inches tall. If you were a daredevil little kid like me, you’d know that 48 inches was the magic height. Once you got to 48 inches, you could ride almost any coaster in the park. 

Once I hit that height, I would spend the whole year looking forward to going to Six Flags over the summer. Some looked forward to going to summer camp and others to their lake houses, but I got most excited for the one and only Great America. 

The night before we would go, my brothers and I would sit around the kitchen table, meticulously mapping out our coaster order for maximum enjoyment and minimum line time. I would go to sleep, jittery, with my alarm set for an unreasonably early, pre-negotiated wake-up time. The morning could not come fast enough. 

We’d sunscreen up, scarf down some food and hit the road to arrive at the gates at 10 a.m. before the park even opened. Giggling, we would run to our first ride. At this point, I would literally be shaking with nerves and giddiness. 

When I was young, Six Flags did not seem to disappoint. But looking back, I have to wonder why I got so excited. Each roller coaster lasted about one minute. Some, only seconds. Each ride just a blip in a 24-hour day, in a 365-day year. Yet I looked forward to these days at Six Flags for so long. 

I have to wonder if it was worth the hype.

Now I look back to being a kid, getting overly excited for things that seem unimportant, and I think of events I was looking forward to that are now canceled or changed due to COVID-19, like Prom, Graduation and Grad Night. 

Though I wasn’t literally bouncing off the walls like I was when I was younger, I spent all of high school watching each senior class experience these special events, anxiously awaiting the day it would be my turn. 

But would these events have been worth the hype? Probably not. Those highly anticipated Six Flags days seem so insignificant to me now, just as these end-of-year celebrations probably will seem similarly unimportant years from now. 

These moments are built up in our heads to be the best of high school, the most awesome, fun-filled times out of our four years. We’re told they’re better than anything else. 

But the reality is that you can’t plan out the best times of your life — they just happen. 

They’re usually small, unexpected moments with your friends and family that bring you joy and remind you of the love you have in your life. These moments could have arisen at Prom or Graduation, and likely would have. But we had almost four entire years’ worth of amazing memories, and we have a lifetime ahead of us to make more, too. 

It’s more than okay to be disappointed that our senior year celebrations have been changed. It’s okay to feel upset about all that’s going on. Just try to remember there is so much in store for you in the future — some of the best moments of your life — and, although unpredictable, they’re worth getting pretty excited over.