Paige Christenberry- A Minow in Shark Territory

Paige Christenberry- A Minow in Shark Territory

Rayven Stuart, Writer

The sun was beaming down on her stinging-red shoulders. Beads of sweat trailed down her forehead and dripped onto the asphalt below. It was scorching hot out that day. Her feet were cramping up from walking up and down the rocky hills of Magic Springs and she desperately needed a break. Her family just wouldn’t let her rest. Her breathing was hitched from the violent panting, she needed a drink. Her uncle, clearly seeing her distress, offered a slushie… for a price. Paige Christenberry would have to face her fears and go on the infamous Sky Shark.

It was the summer of 2017. Paige and her family were spending the day at Magic Springs and Crystal Falls in Hot Springs, Arkansas. However, as unfortunate as it was, Paige was not having much of a good time. The sweltering heat was being nothing less than punishable and the hills of Hot Springs were definitely going to leave her  sore. Not to mention most of the rides were broken.

“I felt like I had a thousand flu’s,” Christenberry said when describing how the day made her feel.

The tiring day was going by so slow and Paige found herself getting desperately thirsty.

“I could’ve drank the pond water with how thirsty I was. It was hot and I mean HOT outside,” she told me. Her family, however, was staying a little bit more contained than the sore, sunburned girl.

Willing to compromise in order to end his nieces pain, Christenberry’s uncle offered her a slushie. Of course, this excited her very much, as she was dying of thirst and was practically melting on the asphalt ground.

“When he told me he’d buy me a drink, I felt this huge wave of relief flood over me after being this dehydrated and deprived of any source of energy,” she giggled.

Little did she know that what she believed to be a wonderful offering would end up being a distant prize.

“He told me I’d have to go on the Sky Shark, which is kind of like a giant swing that hangs just above the pond. You are strapped on to this giant raft and swung over it. It’s horrifying and I most definitely did NOT want to get on. However, I was waaaay too thirsty to say ‘no’,” Paige explained.

It took a while for Paige to comply but eventually, her sheer desperation got the best of her. She agreed to get on the Sky Shark after her cousin told her she’d do it with her.

The walk to the attraction was anxiety-ridden and what was once thermally-caused sweating was now fearful sweating.

“I lowkey thought I was going to die if I got on that thing!” Christenberry exclaimed.

Finally, the family was in the waiting line for the Sky Shark. Paige was visibly shaken by the thing. She watched as other families got on and listened to their screams of pure fear.

“I almost backed out when I saw a full on TEENAGER get off the ride crying. I knew if the ride was scary enough to make a full-grown teenager cry, I was bound to cry as well,” Paige chuckled.

Her turn was next. She felt “sick” and “nauseated” at the sight of the ride. She had been dreading her turn and if she wasn’t forced on by her family, she would’ve dipped. However, before she knew it, she and her cousin were strapped in to the flying raft.

“I think I was maybe already screaming before the ride even started. I don’t remember too well but I knew I was horrified. I kept imagining me flying off and dying in the pond,” she explained the moment.

The waiting anxiety did not last long, for before she knew it, Christenberry and her cousin were up in the air above the pond. The power in her screams was like thunder booming in the sky. The raft swung the two over the water at such high speeds, Paige barely had time to catch her breath.

“I thought I was gonna throw up and die. That’s all I’m gonna say, it sucked,” Paige remembered the feeling of the Sky Shark even a year later.

The ride quickly ended, yet Paige felt like it lasted centuries. Upon getting off the ride, her legs felt wibbly and wobbly and her stomach was churning so much, she didn’t even know if she could drink a slushie.

Walking away from the attraction, however, gave Paige an odd sense of pride in herself for facing her fears. Though, she did think she deserved more than just a simple slushie for getting on it.

“The walk to the slushie stand was a lot less painful than walking to the Sky Shark,” Christenberry laughed. “I am luckily not afraid of slushies.”

At the slushie stand, Paige finally got what she so desired, a nice, cold, refreshing slushie to hopefully regain her strength and rehydrate her. Her uncle bought her a tasty lemon slushie from the stand. Though, “tasty” might be an understatement.

“It tasted HORRIBLE! It was like drinking cat pee!” Paige exclaimed. “It was not exactly as rewarding as I wanted it to be but I still drank it all because I was that thirsty.”

Regardless of how bad her prize ended up being, Paige still went home that day knowing she conquered one of her greatest fears. What greater prize than all is there than being proud of yourself?