Awhile back, I asked a simple question to our members: What makes a coaster enthusiast tick? It seems a like a lot of factors go into why people love the things they do.
I asked a few questions, some got similar responses, but some were quite different. For example, "What park could you go to over and over and never get tired of visiting?" It seemed a lot of the answers were different as in the park, but geographicwise it seemed as if the enthusiast's "home" park was the answer most given. While that seems like a logical answer, I think it's because it's close. It gives you the thrill you need, and you don't need to seek more. However, there are many enthusiasts who crave different thrills making travel the necessity to keep the adrenaline rush going.
Another question I asked was "What makes a ride so terrible that you won't ride it again?" Most of the answers came from the extreme opposites. The answers either made up of a) It's a really boring ride and does nothing for me, therefore I have no reason to ride it again to b) It was so rough and violent that I felt either hurt or sick after riding and have no need to ride it again.
It seems to me that a coaster enthusiast can be extremely opinionated in what their favorite rides are, and they are very vocal about the ones they hate. There has been a debate for 12 years now about people's top steel. Millennium Force versus Bizarro (aka Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England). I am only making these two an example due to them being voted that way in the Golden Ticket awards for numerous years.
It seems enthusiasts really like different elements in their rides. Some like floating airtime, while some like ejector airtime. Some don't like airtime and prefer lateral-type elements; some would rather have inversions to satisfy their appetites. The list seems to go on and on of what makes each of tick the way we do.
To the general public, the rides are mostly the same. Most of them have loops (ha ha, I hear that a lot in lines for rides). They don't understand our incessant need for adrenaline. To us it seems that way, but I think they do understand, but are curious as to why we do it either for a living (like we do here at ThrillNetwork) or why it is such a hobby for us. I know a lot of my family in particular ride, but not like I do. They are intrigued as to why we instead of going on a relaxing vacation to say Florida or Hawaii to lay on the beach we go and drive for hours on end for some roller coasters. We just shrug and tell them that it is relaxing to us. To me, it's an actual stress reliever to get on a ride and forget about everything for a few minutes.
While most of us are enthusiasts to enjoy our time in the park and forget about life for a day or two, there are some who can't stop traveling and getting that rush. There are enthusiasts out there with 400, 500, 600, 750 and almost 1,000 coasters under their belts, and they wear it like a badge of pride. At that point, is it more of an addiction, or are we still in enthusiast territory?
So as I wrap up part one of this special feature, what are your thoughts about being an enthusiast? Do you agree with some of the general responses? What makes you tick? I'd love to add more responses to my next part of the feature.