5 Reasons You Should Join A Coaster Club

This week marks 15 years of CoasterForce, my rollercoaster club of choice. My newsfeed has been filled with the many wonderful weirdos I've met over my time there reminiscing about 'oh, it's all gone so fast' and 'haha, do you remember this' and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. See, some of the best times I've ever had and some of my closest friends happened because I took the plunge and signed up to CoasterForce 8 years ago in the dark days of the early noughties, and I've never looked back! I thought I'd take this anniversary as an opportunity to tell you why you should throw caution to the wind and join up to a club today!

Just FYI, this isn't a CF recruitment post (although obviously we are the best, screw you Theme Park Review) and more of just a general why clubs are cool thing.

Joining a coaster club throws you into a situation where you're surrounded by people from all walks of life. And you don't have to worry about not having anything to talk about because you know you all love theme parks and coasters so there's always a back-up conversation if you do find yourself in the unlikely situation that you've got nothing else to talk about. But seriously, some of my best friends in the world now were just once weirdos I'd met up with from the internet, and they're some of the most interesting, intelligent and generally awesome people I've ever met. I'm going to stop now before I inflate their big heads any more because I know they're reading!

One thing I can definitely thank CF for is the amount of places I've travelled to in the name of visiting theme parks. I'm not saying I wouldn't have gone to these places eventually, but being part of a club means you literally have a little pocket of people who are as eager to travel as you are, meaning planning trips is a lot easier, cheaper and less scary than the prospect of going alone. I've branched off a bit now and do arrange a lot of my own trips, but it's a skill I definitely learned from CoasterForce first and foremost.

This mostly links back to the people section, but shoving a load of people from all over the country together is inevitably going to result in a LOT of different opinions colliding. And that definitely doesn't have to be a bad thing! Sure there've been drunken political debates that have seen us into the wee hours of the morning, but I'd say it's the most eye-opening environment to find oneself in. And as a result of that I'm a much more tolerant person and never judge a book by its cover.

Not going to lie, I was shitting myself about attending my first meet up (called CF Lives). It's kind of silly looking back at it considering I'd been a forum member for over 4 years at the time I decided to bite the bullet and just go. I instantly realised there'd been absolutely no reason to worry, everyone made me feel so welcome and I was kicking myself over not doing it sooner. If you suffer from shyness or are considered a little bit odd, it's definitely a good place to start.

Not only are you surrounded by people with the same...unusual hobby as you, in which case, you'd be weird if you DIDN'T like rollercoasters, but everybody there has been the new kid once and is super friendly and accommodating! And I don't know about you, but in my experience people who have been considered outsiders themselves are always amazing and trying to make you feel comfortable. It's funny how in time you see those once awkward newbies turn into the amazing and confident people you know them to be today!

I've never professed to know everything about theme parks and rollercoasters, but I definitely know more than your average schmoe. That said, in the coaster enthusiast-sphere I'm basically a dunce. The level of knowledge on the subject you unlock access to by joining a club is phenomenal. Everybody has their niche within the industry: you have the techy guys, the designy guys, the nostalgic guys. Basically like the cafeteria in Mean Girls if every table were full of nerds. So basically you never stop learning, and if there's something you want to know you can guarantee you know someone who does. And if they don't then they're bound to know someone who does. Like a living, breathing encyclopedia of useless coaster facts. It's a beautiful thing.

So yh, there's a bunch of other benefits to joining a coaster nerd club, but I'll let you figure that out for yourself by signing up yourself! In the heartfelt and timeless words of Shia LaBoeuf:

Have you ever joined a club? How did you find it? Let me know all about your experiences in the comments!