A Monster Success

Paul Morrone |

By Paul Morrone, CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA

When planning any sort of event with young kids, the idea usually sounds better in theory than it pans out in reality. Traveling, or doing anything really, with a 2 and a 4-year-old is just not easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re hopping on an airplane and going across the country or jumping in the car to go the local beach for the day, there are so many considerations to address ahead of time, and the kids’ mood at any given moment is always the X factor. There are rare cases, however, where things just seem to go as planned. There isn’t a sudden bathroom accident, fight between siblings, untimely bout of hunger or complete meltdown. Fortunately, we had smooth sailing this past weekend at Monster Jam at the XL Center in Hartford, which made the experience, dare I say, enjoyable!?

Both boys have been eagerly awaiting the monster truck show for over two months, as the tickets were a Christmas gift from Preston. Ryan, especially, has an undeniable affinity for cars and trucks (much like his father) and has more four-wheeled toys than we can count. For weeks he’s been reading about monster trucks, playing with them, watching them on TV and continued to say ‘I go see monster truck’ any time a picture of one or toy entered his field of vision. In the days leading up to the show, he must have said ‘I go see monster truck game’ at least a dozen times a day. Needless to say, he wasn’t going to forget. 

The show was on Sunday, at the end of an already busy and long weekend and I was skeptical that things were going to go well. We packed up the car, complete with monster truck toys. Fortunately, we avoided a meltdown when I couldn’t find the Grave Digger toy (Ryan’s favorite) and was able to placate him with a few others. Things almost went off the rails when Kyle proclaimed that it was taking us too long to get there and that he ‘has no patience like daddy,’ mind you we had barely left our neighborhood. Kids say the darndest things! My real fear, however, was how loud the trucks are in the stadium and I was nervous Ryan wouldn’t wear the headphones to buffer the sound, leading to an immediate meltdown and very early departure.

Maybe it was the dozens of times we told him he would need to wear the headphones (which he hated on the airplane last November…) or the fact that so many people were wearing them, but my fears were quickly mitigated when he put them on without a fight and left them there for the entire show. Understandably, the noise from the 12,000 lb monster trucks can be jarring, especially for a two and a half year old – you can literally feel them. After the initial jump and clenching of my arm, Ryan was probably the happiest child in the audience, especially when Grave Digger came out. He was pointing and clapping and cheering like a seasoned Monster Jam fan, Kyle, too, was not far behind. 

From a spectator standpoint, it is rather impressive what some of the drivers have the guts to do in such a small space. To see a 12-foot-tall truck jumping and even doing a flip in the same space that the UCONN basketball team plays in is somewhat mind blowing. I know monster trucks may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly brought me back to my childhood watching Bigfoot rip around in the New Haven Coliseum.  I’ll certainly cherish this memory with my boys and look forward to doing it again. Now, if I can only figure out how to get behind the wheel!