Being A Dad

Never in a million years did I ever imagine I'd be watching monster truck shows, let alone attending one (more on that later). Here's how it happened...

When Jackson was about 2, he was heavily into cars and trucks - he could name any make and model, he would choose to page through car magazines over children's books and he had amassed the largest collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars I had ever seen.  

One day, while flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, I came upon a program on Speed Channel called Monster Jam.  After one viewing, he was hooked.  Simply put, Monster Jam is a 60 minute program where a colorful variety of trucks with names like Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction and Bounty Hunter race against each other (Racing) or smash and crash their way through a semi-obstacle course (Freestyle).  

Racing is pretty boring, to be honest with you.  What you really want to tune in for is Freestyle.  The episodes are set either inside an arena or football stadium, equipped with a roaring crowd and over the top announcers - think pro wrestling, but much more family friendly.  

Each of the trucks and drivers have a loyal fan base - people like Tom Meents, Jim Koehler, Jimmy Creten, Chad Fortune, Adam Anderson and his dad, probably the most famous of them all, Dennis Anderson (you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll pick this stuff up).  

There's also some pretty clever marketing involved here too - there are trucks based on popular characters like Batman and Superman as well as the Tazmanian Devil and Donkey Kong.  And Hot Wheels makes a line of toy versions of practically all the trucks, selling for about $4 a piece.  

As I alluded to earlier, Jackson and I attended a Monster Jam event a couple of years ago - this was a different experience entirely.  First of all, it's the loudest thing you've ever heard.  Even with earplugs, Jackson was traumatized by the volume.  And there's a lot of waiting around for the next event to start.  As for the crowd?  Let's just say it's not filled with Obama supporters and leave it at that.  

My suggestion?  Stick to the TV show and the toys.