First Roller Coaster – Taking The Ride of my Life

Told by Kevin Cordi

Hear the story

At 16 we think we can rule the world. This is a  tender age when we cross the divide into responsibility.  This story is about that journey. It is about the first time I rode “The Blue Streak” at Cedar Point, the largest amusement park in the country and the second oldest roller coaster in the park.  One would think this would be a quick safe journey.  All I can say is it was quick.

I can’t say the ride ended with this ride. It continued at the next park. I use this story to talk about the rides we take in life, whether we want to get on or not.

As a storyteller we often tell the stories that happen to others. We see a window of another life as something worth sharing. We found stories in landscapes of folktales and fairytales.  However, I would challenge us to examine our own experience with a new lens. When we tell what we  know about story and view our own landscape, we open new possibilities for our telling.

I hope this story invites you to explore risky choices in your life and find those worth sharing.  Our job is not to relive, but perhaps to review the events in our lives and find those that are invaluable to share with others.

Since telling this story, I have met, believe it or not, others who have fallen or “near fallen” out of roller coasters or ferris wheels. Others who had someone save their life or take their place.  Remember, when we share our lives, it may invite the rich life stories of our listeners.

About Kevin

Dr. Kevin Cordi has been a professional storyteller for over 25 years.  He is the co-author, with Judy Sima, of the award-winning book Raising Voices. He teaches Applied Storytelling at Ohio Dominican University and is a Co-Director of the Columbus Area Writing Project at Ohio State University. Kevin has recently completed a doctorate investigating the importance of play and the story making process. He stresses that as artists we need to find more collective ways  to improve the storytelling and story making process. He has been working with a new way to add 20 tellers to one experience with his “ensemble storytelling” process.  He outlines this in his new work at  He believes, “Together we can make a difference with stories.”

Contact Kevin

5 thoughts on “First Roller Coaster – Taking The Ride of my Life”

  1. Kristin Pedemonti

    Kevin, wow! Oh yes 16 and invincible, we really do think we have Super Superpowers at that age. 😉

    I did not FALL out of a roller coaster but have been in not 1, but 2 accidents on roller coasters. The Flying Dutchman, nearly Did make us fly. It happened at Dorney Park; I was 16 and with my friend Susan and her little brother Micheal. The Flying Dutchman was one of those single 4-seater car coasters and as we careened down hill number 2, the brakes went on for no apparent reason. From about 45 miles an hour we came to a dead-stop. We were lucky there was not another 4 seater behind us or we may have been more burned than simply bruised. For our “trauma” we earned Free Passes to the park and advise to not tell our parents we had been there that day 😉 this was long before the days of “sue everyone” mentality. 😉

    Fast forward to 1998, I had a weekday off from work and took myself to Dorney Park by myself as a treat. I decided to ride Steel Force, at that time it was the tallest, steepest steel coaster on the East Coast. Whoo hoo! I got on, front seat, we took off up that first steep hill and then we stopped at the very pinnacle of the hill. Stuck. 5 minutes passed, Stuck. The two young boys behind me were becoming more frightened by the minute.10 minutes. Stuck. And the woman midway back in the car was crying uncontrollably, she had Never been on a roller coaster, her boyfriend had coerced her into the ride and she was petrified. I craned my neck around to try to calm the boys and the woman. 20 minutes. Stuck. The entire coaster seemed to be bending back in the breeze that blows at that height. We were stuck a total of 45 minutes. It felt like forever, with the whimpering of the boys behind me and the sobbing of the woman, (sobs between berating her boyfriend.) By that time, several park employees had climbed up the staircase on the side of the coaster to check on us. I told them 1) I had no desire to finish a ride on a faulty coaster; there was another HUGE hill to conquer and 2) that if they did not allow us to climb down I was concerned the woman having a panic attack might simply jump. We finally were allowed to walk down the huge staircase. That part was pretty cool! And for our “trauma” we received FREE Sodas. Yes, a lot changed in 14 years. Free Pass to Free Soda. And Yes, I still ride on coasters, though sometimes my friends refuse to ride with me… I tell ’em, “aw c’mon, 3rd time’s the charm!”

  2. I hate rollercoasters with a passion, which is one of the many reasons why I loved this story 🙂 I was giggling aloud the whole time! I love your genuinely scared or enthusiastic voices, even without seeing you I got a very clear picture, complete with facial expressions 🙂 I really appreciate it how you go from “my lovely childhood” voice into “I’m gonna die!” voice, it saves the story from being overly nostalgic. Nice weaving of shorter stories too! 🙂

  3. Kristen,
    Yes indeed free sodas indeed. Let us face our fears and ride, even if it just gets us a beverage or two. Lyn, it is a small world. Cedar Point has a rich history beyond those coasters. I hope we can share stories sometime sooner than later. KC

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