Spending the day with my little guy and the stars of MONSTER JAM

For the last few months my son has been acting up. Is it being nearly 7? Maybe. Is it dealing with me who is grumpy and tired all the time from my night job. Maybe. Combo of the two yes.

I know I get mad, frustrated and have a really hard time hiding that. And it has really affected the little guy, in a different way than my daughter. When she gets upset she lets it out. The little guy holds it in and then explodes. He is stubborn, impatient and doesn't want to give an inch. I'm glad he got some of my great traits.

A few weeks ago my wife texts me saying how nice and helpful the little guy has been recently. And asks if I have been doing anything differently. I told her I was being more patient with him. He is going to do things I don't like, but I stopped making a federal case about it. And it worked.

Along came an awesome opportunity for us, where we were given great seats to view Monster Jam. My son grew interested in seeing Monster Jam after seeing some pictures my brother posted with him and his son at a show near them. He was so excited.

I knew that we would be able to bond even more in what turned out to be a long long day at Monster Jam. We packed up our essentials, including some noise muffling earphones for him and some ear plugs for me. A change of clothes and rain gear since it was pouring as we left.

We arrived at Met Life Stadium soon before the gates were opening. And as if the Gods of Monster Trucks were revving their engines as they looked down on us, the skies began to clear. A light drizzle replaced the deluge. Having a few hours before our first planned activity, we went to the Pit Party.

All of the Monster Trucks that would be performing in that evening's show were out there with their drivers. You could take pictures and get autographs. We saw some dirt bike racers jumping over very very wet ramps. It was a celebration of everything Monster Jam. Took some pictures of some of the trucks including the world famous Grave Digger.

There were modified monster truck hayrides going on in the back of the pit party but the long line discouraged us from trying that out. The little guy did race around on a mini ride-on version of Grave Digger.

We ventured inside the stadium to get an up close look at the track. Unfortunately, the earlier bad weather made walking the track impossible but we met up with the course designer and I learned a lot of neat facts. The track takes about a week to construct, and a day to take down. There are other crews prepping events across the globe, the next night they would be in Madrid. The crew at MetLife Stadium would then be heading down to Nashville. My son was amazed at how big the stadium was and that it could 83,000 people in it.

They escorted us up to see some of the new toys and other products that are in stores now and will be in the next few months. I was blown away by the depth of their line. Everything from $5 mini trucks to a nearly $400 ride on Grave Digger with lights sound and steel suspension. Beyond actual truck toys, they have sneakers, home wares, video games, and glasses. Monster Jam is a multibillion dollar business. It's not just amazing trucks and their drivers doing amazing things.

Soon it was time for the show. The little guy and the other children we were sitting with were going nuts as the mini trucks (they were full sized just not Monster sized) raced around the track. This was the opening act. It sounded like a smarm of a million bees buzzing through the curves of the home of the New York football Giants and New York Jets.

Then a countdown appeared on MetLife’s giant screens. Then crashing through a wall came the stars of the show. These larger than life trucks came roaring out into the dirt track. They all took their spots and paired off on a single elimination racing tournament. The big star was a truck named Max-D.

Max-D looks exactly what a monster truck would look like if you asked an 8-year-old boy to draw one. Shiny and loud with spikes all over. Kind of like a four-wheeled personification of Judas Priest era Rob Halford.
Full disclosure we were in a luxury box, and as I always say if you have the opportunity to watch and event from one, by all means, do. So there was an inside room and seats outside. My son and the other kids were running all around. Did I scold him when marinara sauce got everywhere? No. It wasn't a big deal. The kids had kind of cleaned it up. Did he stay in his seat? No. But also no biggie. He was having fun. I was having fun. And we were watching something pretty cool.

Max-D and the others competed in three separate competitions, in the aforementioned race. The Two-Wheel Challenge, where the trucks had to do stunts on two wheels. Lots of wheelies, and donuts. The fans voted for the winner through an app. Then finally the main event, the Freestyle.

Freestyle is what everyone pictures when they think about Monster trucks. One on one they battled the course. Leaping over the ramps, seemingly defy all of nature's laws by flying through the night. Crushing some late model cars that were used as props, and for many of the cars doing front and back flips. The trucks used a special steeper ramp for their flips. As the zoomed over it fireworks would shoot out, as if a 10,000-pound vehicle safely flipping 30 feet above the field of a football stadium wasn't amazing enough. Max-D made his flip and landed on his roof, the crowd gasped momentarily as he revved his engines and somehow willed himself back onto his wheels on route to a victory lap. The little guy was beside himself as the competition continued.

The competition ended with Son-uva Digger (an offshoot of the Grave Digger team), who had already lost the roof of his car while jumping through the main portion of the track flipping and crashing on top of the firework launching area. The driver was ok. And though battered all the trucks would be headed for some repairs on their way to the next stop on the tour.

We soon headed back home. Thanks to the ear protection, our ears were not ringing and we talked about how cool and fun our long day at Monster Jam was.

The evening ended with us searching the mid-sixties along 1st avenue for some iced tea. It was nearly 11pm but that was ok. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find Brisk iced tea in that part of town.

Disclosure: We received complimentary passes to this event but all opinions as always are mine alone.

1 comment:

Kevin McKeever said...

i took my son once. stupid fun. emphasis on fun.