From the Staging Lanes | October '07BY: ISAAC DEHAAN
This column writing thing always amazes me. One month I write what I feel is a really good column and I get no responses what so ever. Sometimes it seems to be “weaker” so to speak and the response is surprising. Last month was one like that. I really wanted to put more in the column, but I didn’t want to be long winded. I had some great responses though. One reader told me that they would not even unload their race car to race for a trophy, much less pay $35 on top of that. Others told me about racing for nothing more than the respect of the other racers. Is one to be held more highly than another? No way, different strokes for different folks I guess, but deep down, we all have our own reasons, plain and simple.
This month I thought I would talk about preparation. Being prepared, getting things in order, having the right tools, equipment, supplies to make racing fun. The thing is, I’m not talking about in the pits or the drive to the track, I’m talking about at home. See how many of us have our little list for what needs to be in the trailer before we leave for the race track or do an inventory of pit supplies before we go? I am sure it’s probably close to 100% of us racers. Let me dig a little deeper though, how many of us leave an issue unresolved between us and our spouse, or let that talk with one of our kids wait until we get home from the race weekend? I am sure that same 100% have done that also at least once, twice, ten times on a race weekend. Why?? Look at it a different way, how many of us would even leave the house without checking the tire pressure on the trailer if it was squatting a little bit after we loaded up? Nobody, that’s who. How many of us would leave for the race track without checking the valve lash on an engine that’s been sitting for a while? No one that wants that engine to last, that’s for sure. You might say to yourself, that’s crazy and no one would do that. Yet, how many of us leave stuff not taken care of in our personal lives, just put off until we get home again. I’m not talking major stuff either, as little as saying “I love you” to your kids on the way out the door, or even “I’m sorry” for a disagreement with your neighbor.
I truly believe life is like a pyramid, with personal/family at the bottom, widest part. Its like this, if you have it “together” in your life at home with your family/personal life, it makes everything else “up” the pyramid go better, because its built on a strong, wide base and there is no room to “wobble” and crumble. I’m not preaching by any stretch here either, I am speaking from experience. About 5 years ago, just about the time my son was 1 year old, I forgot this principle. I was almost finished building my race car, a task that was going on 5 years in the building and began spending more and more time trying to get it finished. For some unknown reason, I felt I needed to finish 5 years of work in about 5 weeks time. I wasn’t being the kind of husband or dad I needed to be, and before long, my wife started to let me know it. I was so one tracked in my goals that I just put her and Dylan’s needs aside for my own on the excuse” I just need to get this done” Only, after getting the car done, it was time to go racing, which again pushed everything else aside and got to the top of the priority chain. I was happy, or so it seemed, at the race track, but at home and work not so friendly surroundings. See, what I had failed to notice was with my home life not like it needed to be, my work at my job was suffering as were a lot of my relationships with my friends and co workers. It finally took my dad to get my head “back in the game” so to speak. It was a simple question, “Hows it going at home?’ that finally made me face what I already knew, I had no idea! I had gotten so caught up in what I thought I needed and what I wanted, that I forgot that I had other people that needed me and wanted things too. Apologies to Grant Fraysier, but THAT was a humbler!! Selfish was never a word I would have used to describe myself, but at that moment in time, it was truly the only thing I was. That winter, I traded the car for my bronco and promised my self and my family I would never get that blinded by my own self importance again.
I didn’t write this to make myself look better or tell everyone else how to do their life, I wrote this to remind all of us, it’s a lot more fun at home, work, and the race track when we have our priorities in order. Being a better husband, wife, dad or mom makes us better people, even better racers. You can screw up on the race track, red light, break out, what ever, and it’s OK because in another month or so there will be another race and you can try all over again. Not so at home, you really get one shot to get it right, I hope you make the most of it.
I’ll close this month with this, September 29th & 30th was the Show Me the Money bracket race at Albright Shores, a track here in Michigan. You can find the results on this website, but something you can’t find is the cooperation between racers and staff that occurred. Both racers and staff from WMSD turned out in force to make sure this was a great event for Albright Shores and it was good to see the desire for the good of the sport out weigh other things. Kudos to all involved and some big props for Fred Hugo and Rich Wood who wound up the taking home the big money in their classes.
That’s all for now, I got my shades on and suitcase packed, I’ll see you all in Primm!!
From the Staging Lanes,