“Daddy, that’s AMAZING!”

Photo courtesy of hunt72 on Flickr.

There’s a little boy or girl in all of us when we watch something as thrilling as the USAF Thunderbirds screaming over head.

While my family and I were at Hill Air Force Base on Saturday for the Warriors Over The Wasatch Air Show, I stared with as much wonder as my 3-year-old son, while he shouted “That’s AMAZING!” at every trick performed by a pilot who was flying a Red Bull-sponsored airplane. But the true joy came in watching some of our nation’s finest — both the local heroes from Hill Air Force Base and the famous Thunderbird pilots — tear through the sky in their F-16s.

I took these videos with my cell phone camera. Sorry it’s not better quality, but even a live 1080p camera feed couldn’t possibly do the Thunderbirds justice:

As a baseball fan, I hate rain delays. My younger brother and I once sat at PETCO Park in San Diego, marveling at the first washout for a Padres home game in since 1998 and wondering when it was that we had left San Diego for Seattle. I don’t know if I’ve ever been colder than we were that evening because we hadn’t planned on needing jackets — it’s Southern California, I thought. It’s warm all the time. Uh-huh … right.

Well, I never thought I’d see a rain delay as a blessing. Forget the patience of Job, I think I have the patience of a squirrel, and the last thing I want to do is stare at the rain when I could be watching F-16s.

However, on Saturday, a rain delay was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

We huddled in a cramped hangar on the air base for nearly two hours, wrestling my two toddlers and their friend from the neighborhood, feeling somewhat like cattle in a barn. It was stuffy, loud and my kids needed a nap. We debated whether we would stick it out or buy an umbrella and head for the exits.

After braving the rain to find a vendor who might provide lunch to three raging toddlers, we heard the glorious declaration that the air show would resume if we stuck it out ’til 2:15. Of course, 2:15 became 2:45, but those of us who had decided to stand pat in cattle stalls were rewarded with a front-row seat to the Thunderbirds.

I’m not ashamed to say they brought a tear to my eyes — and an adrenaline rush, especially when we were caught staring at the diamond formation and one of the Thunderbirds buzzed overhead demonstrating the “tactical surprise of the F-16” … twice.

I left the air show wanting to start a “U-S-A!” chant that would make Hacksaw Jim Duggan proud.

Yes, son, that was “AMAZING.”

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