Don't Miss It
New season, new paint jobs, new sponsors, new drivers, and better weather are all on the horizon. As tracks put the finishing touches on a fresh coat of paint, teams scramble to finish their cars at the last minute, and fans get out their race tees and coozies, you can’t help but feel the excitement and allure that lingers in the air. As we transition between Easter and Christmas, a phrase that often floats around is, “Don’t forget the true meaning of the season.”
As we kick off the racing season, my wish for the racing community is the same…don’t miss it. If I were to pause the clock and ask every racer to close their eyes and make one wish for this season, in some ways, everyone’s wishes might differ slightly. Yet, I would imagine that a common thread would be wishes with a positive connotation. I would also guess that a few choices would hopefully not be anyone’s wish – choices like injury or death, financial burdens, fighting and arguing, relationship turmoil, poor officiating, crappy track surfaces, losing, getting wrecked, etc. As much as we hate to admit it, many of these events will happen to all of us this season. Therefore, when I say, “Don’t miss it,” what does that really mean?
One of my favorite quotes is, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Attitude is everything. It’s also difficult to change. I have found that one of the best ways to preserve a positive attitude at the track is to have realistic expectations on both ends of the spectrum. When I show up at the track, I am there to win, and that is a top goal of mine. Another top goal of mine is to be a light to the sport and make a positive difference in the racing community. However, as much as I would love to win every week, it’s simply not realistic. Therefore, when the night doesn’t go as planned, having a positive attitude becomes more of a challenge. They say, “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.” It can be harder to stay humble when you win compared to when you lose. It’s easy to make excuses and blame pretty much everything capable of blaming but yourself. With that being said, keep in mind that there are guarantees that come along with the sport.
- You will more than likely get taken out, collected, or crashed. Accept it and move on.
- You will more than likely collect someone else. Apologize when necessary.
- You will lose. Don’t make excuses. Just learn.
- You might win, but probably a lot less than you lose. Cherish the wins.
- You’ll spend money (a lot of money). Be wise about it. Set a budget and be complacent with that.
- You’ll make new friends. Remember that people matter more than anything. Don’t sacrifice all your relationships because of competition.
- You’ll probably unfortunately lose friends. Try to treat everyone with respect and control what you can control.
- You could get hurt. Try your best to be pro-active with safety. It’s not always enough, but don’t leave yourself wishing you would’ve done more.
- You will receive the short end of the stick, and it won’t be fair. Life is not always fair.
- There will be drama. Don’t join in.
- People will talk bad about you. Don’t let it get to you.
- People will judge you. Ignore them.
- The officials will make bad calls. We all make mistakes.
- Your setup won’t be perfect every time. Learn from it.
- The tracks aren’t always great. Be thankful you have a track to race at.
- If you’re racing with your kid, don’t worry about their potential future racing career. Worry about making the most of every second of their childhood. They’ll be grown before you know it.
- Don’t get cocky. Thank the people in your life every chance you get.
- The sport doesn’t exist for you. Do something to give back to it.
- You’ll get stressed out and frustrated. If it’s consistent, make a change, find someone to talk to, do whatever it takes to be in balance and happy. Life is too short to be anything but.
- You’ll find yourself jealous of someone else. Don’t be. What someone’s life looks like on the outside doesn’t always tell the whole story. Be grateful you’re you, and be the best version of you.
Unfortunately, as much as we hate to admit it, members of the racing community will face injury and potentially even death in our sport this year. As you stroll through the pits, or get on social media, remember that any person you pass by or ‘@’ on social media could be the next one who gets hurt or loses their life. You don’t have to like everyone, but please be kind to one another. Don’t wish you wouldn’t have said what you said or wish you could’ve had a second chance when it’s too late.
You’re blessed to be a part of the greatest sport in the world. You can make countless memories, learn about every aspect of life, spend time with friends and family, compete, live life on the edge, have all your dreams come true, and have the absolute time of your life. It’s all about attitude. As they say, “Life is too short to live with regrets. Love the people who treat you right. Love the ones who don’t just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”