American Gladiators Is Still Kicking My Ass

Quick story: some friends of mine and I were at Six Flags Magic Mountain out in California. It was the late 80s, and we were freshmen in college, on our first road trip. We had, as college freshmen tend to have, plans and dreams. (More the latter than the former, but still.) Magic Mountain, at that time, had a late-night show they did over a small pond they called Mirror Lake—it was a fireworks show. And it was great. Stirring. The explosives, the red-white-and blue, the patriotic music and, honestly, the times in which we were living all came together in this perfect combination. When it was over, we sat there for a minute or so, and then one of my friends turned to me and said "Damn, I want to go join the Army now." And if the Army had had a recruiting station outside Mirror Lake? We might have enlisted, plans and dreams be damned. It was that powerful.

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Sean Cronin