You never know what might tickle your fancy. I've lived my life with that as a truism. It's what has led me to visit museums like a telephone museum, and the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. The latter was panned by a Kansan columnist just this week.
But you never know when something will be uproariously fun and entertaining.
Sometimes you know it will be entertaining for others, but not for you. That's what drew me to an event recently. I knew my youngest son would have fun, and since I had a connection to get a discount on tickets, he and I went to a monster truck show.
Keep in mind, I've never been overly entertained by most motorsports. For me, watching NASCAR most weekends is boring. Watching cars drive in an oval, turning left over and over again, just does not get my blood pumping. Drag racing is even more boring — they race for just a few seconds in a straight line. I've never really understood demolition derby, though I go every single year to provide images and coverage for the paper. Maybe it's because I got hurt under the bleachers as a kid — my first time in an ambulance — at a demolition derby. Maybe it's because I would rather avoid car crashes.
Motorsports just have never really excited me much. One Sunday morning my boys were watching monster trucks on television. It was obvious they liked it.
I really didn't care. Then came the chance to take my youngest for a special day. I gave my brother-in-law/friend some cash for some tickets.
On the way to the event, my son seemed more interested in the toy that came with his kid's meal than where were going. On a cold, windy February day we walked from a parking lot a few blocks away to the arena. I could tell he was excited, though he was concentrating more on getting inside where it was warmer than anything else.
Once we got inside, we found our seats. I sat down, and he hopped in my lap. Off came the coats, mittens and hat. And then he looked out over the arena.
There, straight in his line of sight, was a monster truck he had seen on television.
"Daddy! It's Scooby Doo! That's my favorite!"
I nodded. I opened my mouth to respond. I didn't get a word out.
"They are huge! Look at them! What's that one's name? I like the black one too!"
I knew we were in for fun afternoon. I began to contemplate what would be more fun — watching the carnage in the arena, or my son.
"Oh, that one is scary. With the skull. That looks like Monster Mutt. He's coooooooool."
He had not even gotten to the other side of the arena where four more trucks were sitting.
Over the course of the next two hours, the trucks got noisy. My son dutifully wore his hearing protection. He oohed, ahhed and cheered.
He also decided on a new favorite truck — Grave Digger. A popular truck on the tour. Digger went over on its side or top twice during the show — and won the finalé event of freestyle. My son asked for a souvenir truck. We bought the Hotwheels version of Grave Digger, complete with a flag to hang on the back.
After the show was over, I realized how much fun I had. It was kind of fun watching those trucks do stunts. I had been posting photos of our day and event to social media — and "likes" started showing up from monster truck drivers performing in other cities. That was cool.
On the way home my son talked a mile a minute about what he saw, until he fell asleep. The excitement had just plain worn him out.
I'm now kind of a monster truck fan. Trying to collect some toy trucks of the ones we saw that day in Wichita. I'm looking for tickets to shows in other cities in our area as well, wanting to take my oldest son to experience it. My wife wants to go too — married almost 10 years, I just now learned she likes monster trucks. That could have been a fun date.
I went to this thing for my kid, and found something fun. You just never know.
— Chad Frey is managing editor of The Newton Kansan.