As I prepare to make my return to Jefferson Speedway this afternoon….oh wait, I picked up on Facebook that I should be calling it “jtrack”, my apologies…anyway, my mind once again flashed back about 20 or whatever years ago, attempting to grasp whatever memories it could salvage. I remember where we were pitted, I remember where I stood along the wall, I even remember going up in the stands to go to the bathroom, but the one thing that I cannot remember is who else was there. I could probably take a guess at the staple people that were always there. I mean there was a group of us that could probably even guess what color underwear each other was wearing because we saw each other so much, (okay, that might be a stretch, but you get my drift).
Then it hit me……
I had the privilege of being able to hide. Hide behind my dad, my family, and our team. I realized that while I remember almost every race I ever went to in those days, I vaguely remember other people. When this epiphany hit me, my first thought was, “wow, how selfish was that!?” I wasn’t stuck up or anything, I just loved my dad so much that I didn’t feel the need to look outside of my own team. We were perfectly happy and having the time of our lives. And I still have no regrets to this day.
After I got past the initial shock of this revelation, I realized that it started to make sense of the fact that I’ve gotten to know more people in racing in the last several years than I probably even realized were there when I was younger. And just fyi, there’s a lot of pretty awesome people out there.
When I made my “all-in” return to the sport about 6 years ago, I was terrified!!! Where was I going to go? Who was I going to talk to? Should I just turn around and go home? Aaaahhh!! Looking back, I now know that really meant, where was I going to hide?
I had two choices, turn and runaway from the sport that I knew I couldn’t live without, or bite the bullet, suck it up, and start developing new relationships with people I could no longer hide from. Clearly, I chose option number two. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my days. There might even be a time or two that I flash a smile but just as quickly look back at the ground. No offense intended. I guess I still need to have my own defenses.
I have gotten to know some of the most amazing people over the years, and even have a couple of the most unlikely of BFF’s that I never would’ve had the opportunity to meet had I tried to find a place to hide.
The way I look at it is this, we all talk about racing as a family, and that the only possible way to understand our way of life is to live it and to love it. You simply cannot live racing if you do not love it and vice versa. It’s just not possible. So here’s my personal justification as to why it’s okay for me to spend time meeting and talking with people (don’t hold me to it, I didn’t say I’ll NEVER try to hide;)). If I feel like I can call people part of my family, I’d better know who I’m talking about. Keep in mind, I never said we weren’t a dysfunctional family. 😉
Whew, that’s not exactly what I was expecting write about this morning, but thank you to a certain someone who changed his profile picture on FB last night, for the inspiration. I’m not even sure if you know who you are.
So with that, I’ve got a lot to do before I hit the road for my trip to “jtrack.” I can’t wait to see everyone and hopefully this time I’ll remember more than just where the bathroom is at. 🙂
Oh and I can’t close without reminding you to start building that Wisconsin fan base for my boy Caleb Adrian in the #29 Adrian Carriers/Liz Girl Logistics Big 8 Series car. He’s pumped and ready for his Wisconsin debut.