The Red Dragon

The Red Dragon

(A original)

November 5, 2005

Back in the dark winter months when summer seemed so far away, a father promised his young son a summer trip to the amusement park. The park had a new ride, the Red Dragon, the world’s most exciting roller coaster. The boy couldn’t wait to ride those giant rails of steel. The months passed so slowly. “Will that day ever come?” Little boys are not good at waiting.

Finally that day did arrive and they drove out to the amusement park. When they got there the lines for the Red Dragon were long and minutes seemed like hours. As they inched closer to the front of the line the distant rumble got closer and the screams became louder. The anticipation was mounting as the little boy’s heart began to race faster. Before they knew it, the Red Dragon pulled up in front of them and they boarded their seats. This was it. The moment had arrived. They strapped themselves in, knowing it would be the ride of their lives. They were too nervous to even talk.

The car lurched forward and their bodies tensed up as they made the long climb up the track. Without warning, the roller coaster reached the peak and began to scream back toward earth. Corkscrews, twists, and hairpin turns left them breathless. All at once they were thrilled, petrified, screaming, anxious, and laughing. Every emotion they possessed was showing up at the same time. This was the thrill of their lives. Then, in the midst of the excitement, and again without warning, the ride screeched to a halt. It was over. “How could it be finished already?” The little boy asked. “Because that is all the excitement most people can take in at once.” was the Father’s reply. The little boy drove home excited about the ride, but he was disappointed that it was over. Still, that little boy took home memories that he will never forget.

And so it is with this little boy, and many others who are like him. We waited nearly 9 months to ride the roller coaster that we call the Neshaminy Redskins. It seemed like September 2005 would never get here. Nine months without football should be illegal. But September did arrive and we got on for the ride of our lives. We laughed, we gasped, we held our breath, and once again, we were thrilled. At times we were white knuckled, but we loved every minute of it.

Then in the blink of an eye, it is November and the ride is pulling back into the station. “It’s over already?” I asked, as I climbed out of my car. “We’re afraid so” said Kim, the attendant from the N-Club. “The Red Dragon needs to go in for service.”

I was so disappointed.

“Not so fast” said a hoarse, raspy voice from the crowd. “It’s my ride and I say the Red Dragon is good to go around again, we still have several more weeks to go. We’ve tuned this ride to near perfection and it’s not stopping now.”

As I raced toward the car to grab one of the coveted seats, the raspy man stood in front of me and blocked my way. A small crowd gathered behind me. Suddenly, Tom McEowen, and Chris Daino broke through the crowd. The man pointed to them and said “you must be at least that tall to get on the ride.” I looked them over, it appeared hopeless. I walked over and stood right between them. “Okay, you can get on”, grunted the man. I was stunned.

As the old man walked away, Tom and Chris, who had been hunched over, stood up straight. They now towered over me. Their stature and the magnitude of their accomplishments was not to be denied. I looked up at them and they winked: “We did that for you. Hurry up and get on before he turns around.” I got back on the ride for the second round. Even though I know from experience what to expect, I will again be white knuckled, thrilled, and breathless as the ride takes me on this second journey called the 2005 playoffs. The post season always has more twists than a plate full of funnel cake.

We don’t know when the ride will end, but when it finally does, I’ll go home with memories that will last a lifetime, and no one can ever take them away from me.

~ The little boy