Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kennywood Day!


Pitt Fall, originally uploaded by justinsullivan.

This past Wednesday was "Kennywood Day" for our school district. Kennywood is a Pittsburgh tradition and historic landmark founded in 1898. Completely ingrained in the Pittsburgh culture, it's practically assumed that every school kid, township, borough and several companies will host an annual Kennywood Day.

Virtually every Pittsburgher visits Kennywood each year and many more than once. Many end up working there at some point. I currently work with at least 2 ex-Kennywood employees, one of whom is married to an ex-Kennywood employee. Having lived in other cities, I can think of no other amusement park as completely ingrained in a cities identitiy as Kennywood. (Well, maybe Hershey Park.)

This year was milestone year for my 6 year old son, who rode both the Phantom's Revenge and the Pit Fall for the first time. Despite being pretty quiet and shy, he's been a coaster nut since his first ride on the Jack Rabbit when he was 3 years old.

Sitting by his side as we plunged down the hillside at speeds up to 85MPH, I saw the amusement park experience in a new perspective. Not just about fun, dizziness and fried food, thrill rides present real tests of courage for our kids (and adults too, I suppose).

So as we sat at the top of the Pitt Fall and my son said to me "This is a great view dad," as I tried to pry my eyes open, or he bounced along saying "I must be the bravest kid in the whole world." after conquering Phantom's Revenge, I decided that there's a valuable lesson at amusement parks about the rewards that come from taking calculated risks.


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