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The Thrilling 32 and Ride Warrior Choice Awards voting has commenced, and I have sent in my ballot. (Please don't forget to vote!!) After talking with some fellow enthusiasts who I know voted. I was fascinated at how different our rankings were on common coasters that we have ridden. And we have had some fun and spirited debates over them. At the Ride Warrior Discord (Shameless plug.)
However, I have also noticed that when enthusiasts start talking about rankings, or coasters in general. It can turn toxic quickly "Are you brain dead how can you have Skyrush ranked higher than Steel Vengeance!" That is just one example. And I started to think, why is that wrong? Other than it is not my opinion.
I have a friend, and he is blessed to have ridden hundreds of coasters in multiple countries. We have had many conversations on the Ride Warrior Discord, (Shameless plug #2.) I respect his opinion, and he has helped me look at critiquing coasters in ways that never crossed my mind.
At Holiwood Nights 2019, we finally had a chance to meet up. We rode The Voyage several times. (Trimless Voyage is a near-religious experience.) Afterward, he asked, "So is Steel Vengeance this good?" As well-traveled as he is, he had not yet been on Steel Vengeance. I replied, "I think it is better, but if you tell me that trimless Voyage is better, I won't say you're wrong."
Now my friend was on a big North America coaster trip last Summer, and he would be at Cedar Point a couple of weeks later. He was keeping us up to date on Discord(Shameless plug #3), and when he finally arrived at Cedar Point, we were all interested in how he would rank Steel Vengeance. I was confident that, at worst, it would be a new top five coaster.
To all of our astonishment, Steel Vengeance was not his new #1. It was not in his top 5. Fantastical absurdity, you say. Heck, it was not even in his top 10!!!! Steel Vengeance, the overwhelming #1 coaster in multiple polls, was #14 in his ranking. No that was not a typo #14
Now some intense conversations started to happen, to put it lightly. Some thought he was trolling, and others thought that his love of Intamin was blinding him. A few felt that his disdain for all of the obnoxiousness of the RMC fanboys. Made him rank it lower than it should.
For myself well, while I had some of those same thoughts, I was curious as to why? So with an open mind, I talked to him when he got home. Now we don't have time to go over the whole conversation. I will tell you there was a lot of back and forth dialog. But in the end, although I did not agree with all of his reasoning. I understood where he was coming from, and I have no problem with his ranking.
Looking at my own experiences, I know there are few surprises. For instance, I like Magnum more than Millennium Force. I have Shivering Timbers higher than Mystic Timbers, and X-Flight over Gate Keeper. I am positive that it is just the beginning.
I mean, what does it matter that person (A) likes/doesn't like Steel Vengeance more than person (B). Are we so obsessed that our opinion is the right one? Does our arrogance blind us so much that we cannot allow other views to help us form ours? Or Heaven forbid have to admit we may be wrong?
Our coaster rankings made with subjective logic are exactly that ours. And guess what they are all equally right. You spent the time to go to the park. You made an effort to ride. You are the one that criticized/praised and ranked the coasters you have ridden. YOUR rankings are the correct ones!!!
Now comes the hard part to digest. My rankings are the correct ones, as well. And I have a strong feeling they look nothing like yours. We, as a community, have to able to start accepting that. And instead of attacking someone's rankings, ASK, LISTEN, UNDERSTAND someone's rankings.
This doesn't mean you have to agree, heck you can strongly disagree. But you might look at your rankings a little differently. And maybe, just maybe, there will be a slight tweaking to them.