The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

Child's Play (Day Seventy-Two)

It’s great to have an opportunity to spend a day acting like a big kid. Those that know me best probably are thinking this is the story of my life (e.g. riding your bike for a summer), but day seventy-two was special for me because it allowed me to re-experience a particular form of entertainment that was a big part of my childhood – theme parks! My excuse for acting like a kid was that we were blessed with another opportunity on day seventy-two. Matt’s beautiful daughters, Mady and Evy, ages 9 and 7, had come down to meet us in Fredericksburg from Washington, DC, where they had spent time this summer with their grandmother attending various camps. BTW – horse camp was their favorite according to both girls, but that is another story. So Steve and I joined the kids at Kings Dominion, the grand pappy of roller coaster parks, home to 12 in total. Growing up, my Mom and Dad (aka Mama Bear and Papa Bear) would take our family to theme parks over the summers when we were off from school and they were off from school. We were lucky because my parents were both school teachers. We hit them all on the East Coast – Hershey Park, Busch Gardens, Cedar Point, Great Adventure, etc.

My favorite rides were always the roller coasters. So this day was about riding roller coasters, specifically the category 5 roller coasters, which were considered the biggest thrill rides according to the park's rating system. Except for 1 water ride that I went on with Mady and Evy, the only rides we went on were Cat5 roller coasters – 7 in total.

Some advice to readers who may be inspired or have plans to go to Kings Dominion to ride roller coasters after reading this – do NOT go on the Intimidator 305 first! By my account, this should be a Category 7 and the rest are “Child’s Play”. With a highest peak of 305 feet that descends riders at 85 degrees over 90 miles per hour, this was by far the best ride of the day and worth the trip alone. According to park material, it’s only the second gig coaster (whatever that means) ever built in North America. Whatever you call it, this ride is “Bravo Alpha” and we rode it four times! Except for gig coasters and the fact that Starbucks has found their way into theme parks (of course they did), I conclude that not much has changed over the years for this particular form of entertainment. I think this is a good thing. You can still go on wooden roller coasters as the paint is still holding them up. The Rebel Yell was the classic ride of the day. For those who have only been to Great Adventure (off exit 7A on the Jersey Turnpike!), this is the same ride as Rolling Thunder, that I believe is still barely standing but still working as well. After our day of fun, we were treated to dinner at Bistro Bethem in Fredericksburg. Chef Blake Bethem, a former Marine himself, fixed us a great meal which we ate at the bar as we spoke to many great people from this rightfully proud and historical town. What a great way to end a great day. Thanks to Rob Grogan, our co-founder Matt Corry’s uncle, for making our trip to Fredericksburg memorable.

Thanks for coming Mady and Evy – I don’t ever want to grow up!

To the limit,