Took my 5yo to a Monster Truck show

Monster Jam Monster Truck Rally NashvilleAfter years of watching House MD I decided I might want to see a Monster Truck show one day. This was many years ago, I’d not really thought about monster trucks since I was a kid as driving one seems kind of fun but watching one just doesn’t feel up my alley.

But a couple of months ago me and Maggie (5yo,) got to talking about it and she mentioned she would be interested in seeing them, and I still kind of had both my olden days of watching Robotix, Bigfoot, and Jem to remind me that monster trucks had been something in my past as well as something in my more recent past.

So for father’s day we got given tickets, and this past Saturday we went.

Kim was out at an event so we had a friend come over to handle the two year old for the roughly one hour that Kim’s event ran past when I needed to head out, and me and Maggie got ready and got out the door only 40 minutes later than anticipated due to an accident that required a carpet cleaner, washing machine, and a flamethrower.

Well, two out of three.

Monster Jam Monster Truck Rally Nashville

I’d planned on getting there about an hour early which I figured would give us time to look at the trucks outside, not be too long, and head in and grab some food and all. What I had not planned on was that some major downtown area roads were going to be closed for construction, Pride, two beer fests, and something at a concert hall were going to turn what’s normally a six minute drive into about a 70 minute drive.

We got there with ten minutes to spare and a mile to walk and got in the door sometime after the trucks came out and the national anthem had been sung. The lines were slow going through the metal detectors as everyone had a kid, and every kid had ear protection.

Monster Jam Monster Truck Rally NashvilleWe got to the third floor, got to the area our seats were and could not locate them, were directed to another section one over, got there, were redirected back where we came from, discovered the entire row was mis-seated and one of the attendants had to go through and figure out how everyone had sat in the wrong area.

In the end they moved two people back a row, shifted one over, it felt a little like tetris. I mentioned a couple of times I’d be fine sitting in one of the empty seats but once this process had started there was no going back.

The show was fun, Maggie was rapt for about twelve minutes which is still a long time in 5yo land. About 40 minutes in she spotted cotton candy and that was about that, the wanting something had begun. I said I’d grab her some probably at intermission, she took that to mean in a couple of minutes, we started losing the fun.

About three more trucks in I decided to go and get her some. Nobody knew where it came from. None of the restaurants had any and many had seen it but it was not part of their thing. Oh no, it was a vendor who was located waaaaay over on the other side of the stadium. Well, not other side, but we were south area, it was north.

Monster Jam Monster Truck Rally NashvilleGuess who had a line? Yup. Now it was not much of a line but it was slow. Every child had to be asked what they wanted, and sno-cones were being made as well. Maggie spotted the bag of cotton candy and we were staying there.

Of course they don’t sell cotton candy. They sell a mask+cotton candy. Oh yeah, that $0.03 cents of sugar in a bag meant I had to purchase a Gravedigger mask (or another one which I don’t know anything about except it was a bull). This mask better last forever.

We watched some more. Maggie made it through intermission pretty well and then started talking to people. It was getting hotter and it seemed she was losing the ability to concentrate. The freestyle stuff started and it seemed every time she would turn her head a truck would flip and catch on fire and she’d turn back around asking what had happened.

“You turned away, a truck flipped, and caught on fire. How many times do you want me to repeat this? You’re trying to talk to someone behind us watching that and he’s not talking to you.” Rrrr… I was hot, bit tired at this point.

It got extremely hot as the sun went down. This was a bit counter-intuitive but what I believe was happening is all the people on the first couple of levels body heat was wafting up to us. Maggie started getting sick, I was way way way too hot, we went out and grabbed some water and cooled down a bit an decided it had been fun but pushing it any longer was probably not going to be fun for us.

It was also about two hours after her bedtime at this point and she’d been swimming earlier in the day and there was that past-exhaustion look going on. It was time to go.

We walked about a mile back to the car, she was worried that she’d dragged me away from fun. I told her I could have stayed a little longer but I had had enough for one day. This was the truth, although I think she thinks I was being a parent and lying about what I felt. Nah, I had maybe one more monster truck in me, I’d had my fun.

On the way back we cranked the AC down, she started feeling better, I started feeling better. It was an interesting excursion coming just a week or two after her first movie in theaters.

It’s nice to actually do something that’s not a play pit, restaurant, or splash pad with the kiddo. Monster Trucks may not be a big thing in either of our worlds, but it was a welcome change from bouncy castles, birthday parties, lessons, etc. Just some mindless entertainment where kids could be kids and big kids could watch big cars.

That said, a few people had shirts on where they had rhymes for “truck” – fortunately we’re before solid reading comprehension at the moment.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.