The

Sherry - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 9, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I stood on the overcrowded bridge, elbows resting timidly on the rail, and stared goggle-eyed at the fantastic spectacle suspended ninety feet in mid-air above the cold, uninviting lake. To passersby, it was just a typical vehicle of safe terror – a roller coaster – tweaked into a unique attraction dubbed the “Boston Tea Party.” But to me, the intimidating jet black boat, hovering on twisting steel tracks that terminated with a steep plunge into the freezing water, evoked no such “party” atmosphere. My apprehension heightened as an unbroken series of shrieks from the current load of fervid passengers reverberated through the air, followed by an icy spray of water exerted by the boat’s final plummet that thoroughly drenched all spectators on the bridge. Teeth chattering and soaked from head to toe, I trembled like a leaf, rooted to the spot while my avant-garde companions sprinted off to join the line of happy campers who wanted to get the splashing of a lifetime.

To my immense surprise, Sophie – a daring and overbearing friend who perpetually craved for challenges – sauntered towards me instead of the launching station. A fiery glint in her eyes signaled her intent to tackle the colossal task of persuading me to venture onto the “Boston Tea Party.” Petrified and visibly cringing as she approached, I sputtered feeble excuses to evade the ride of doom, but Sophie grinned insidiously and forcefully dragged me to the snaking queue. She scoffed at my chickenhearted convictions and poked me in the ribs, whispering loudly, “Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud! You can’t just passively lean on a bridge and watch a thrilling adventure unfold from afar!” Without granting me half a second to catch my breath, Sophie rammed me into a narrow row of seats on the boat, her fierce pep talk still ringing in my ears.

Boxed into the uncomfortable seat as the boat slowly ascended the steel track, I alternated between squeezing my eyes shut and and counting the clouds, hopelessly unable to muster up the guts to peer downward. But as the boat gained momentum and rapidly zoomed along dizzying loops, Sophie’s words echoed encouragingly through my mind, imparting me the courage to gaze wildly at my surroundings in every direction and even freely holler. Good heavens, what was this blossoming sensation? An adrenaline rush? No, it was an infinitely more exhilarating experience, the climactic result of having finally released my firm grip on the familiarly secure. I had won the mental battle waged against cowardly wariness, and was now throwing caution to the winds, extinguishing my phobias, and embracing the fast and the furious! My bursting reverie was interrupted as the boat finally plunged sharply, spewing lake water upon us in a rejuvenating shower that doused the last of my terrors. And as a dripping wet Sophie gave me the thumbs-up, a dawning revelation struck me: a stimulating dose of adventure, inspiring one to cast aside fears and summon up courage, is truly the ticket to the “party” of life.