Recently on vacation with two other families we found ourselves at a water park. Six adults and seven kids loaded into our vehicles and headed for adventure.
At the park entrance there was a decision to be made – different ticket options for the adults. You could buy the “viewer pass” for $18 and if you decide not to partake in the fun you can return your dry wrist band and receive $8 back.
Viewing the fun only $10, going down the slides, joining the madness, $18. No this isn’t a Master Card commercial, everything has a price, right?
A couple of us adults were decided when we left our vacation rental by leaving our suits at home. The others were undecided, but prepared by either bringing their swimsuit or wearing it under their clothes. My suit was on before getting in the car.
The weather was acceptable, not raining. A few clouds hung in the air, sun definitely out, just windy, preventing the sun from putting out scorching heat. Jump-in-the-water-it’s-so-hot, it definitely was not.
All six kids hit the slides, weather conditions not a factor. As I observed the fun, watching the activity around me I learned it wasn’t hot enough yet for my husband or adult friends, who came undecided and prepared with their suits.
After watching our kids light up with joy as they came flying out of the shoots and land in the pool of water, I realized they could care less if they were cold. They didn’t need to wait for others to say they were in for the fun or not.
I peeled off my shorts and shirt, handed my husband my bag, kicked off my shoes, and headed up the stairs. I ripped off my bracelet, no longer just a viewer; I chose the “Twister” slide and got in line.
I am not a total ride enthusiast, although I like them, I just prefer the more cautious ones, not the oh-my-God-I’m-gonna-die ones. Nervous on the first slide, I bit my lip once or twice. By the fifth time down all the slide options I was a pro. After an hour of being a kid, watching my adult friends indulge me with snapping my photo as I came sliding down, cheering me on, it was time for the river raft ride.
I jumped into my inner-tube and headed down the winding slide. Next thing I know, I am flipped out of my tube, hitting my head on the bottom of the slide, gasping for air. So much for participating in the fun.
Hurt shoulder, bruised ego, I headed for the changing room.
My husband greeted me with a big smile and even bigger hug. Honey, you shouldn’t have left your helmet at home, he lovingly told me.
The helmet thing is our private joke. I am always hitting my head, tripping over something. If I chose to keep my viewer bracelet dry, I still would have done something, like stub my toe.
Just this past weekend on another trip with a different group of friends, I went inner-tubing behind a boat and screamed the whole way. I did think I was going to die. I didn’t.
Sitting and watching brings plenty of joy for many. I for one am not content with just taking the viewer pass. Head bumps, terror, swallowing water, I’m still here. If I didn’t jump down that slide or hop out of the boat I would have felt like I missed out.
Tomorrow our family heads east, we will be stopping for a guided river raft ride. No viewer pass option. I will put on my life vest and through gritted teeth as the waves splash over our raft I will be so glad I am not sitting on the side of the river.
And even if I bump my head the adventure will be priceless. For me it’s a much bigger price to not go for it.
by J.G. McGlothern