Friday, October 13, 2006

In good company

Man, have I ever been busy researching the new race car. It seems that a race car would be a pretty simple thing to build since I have done so many. I can't help but believe there is some special reason that I'm not aware of that I am called on to do this race and I really have a desire to do well. I suppose part of it is due to the fact so many racers from all over the world will be there and I feel as is I need to represent not only America but Team California's Best reputation as well. Then again it is a race of a lifetime, it has danger, intrigue, fast cars, travel, friends, family, adventure and racing not to mention a great racing heritage and tradition all of which I want to be a part of. I wasn't aware until yesterday this is the 20th anniversary of the second time the race was brought back and so there is really a lot of competition of European teams fighting to sign up for it.

In a way it reminds me of my skeet shooting days when all I found time to do was eat, sleep and talk skeet night and day. Just like it was back in my Olympic days I was so devoted and obsessed with obtaining or achieving certain goals that I had set for myself if you didn't share one of those then you got left behind. While it all sounds rude I assure it was never met to be and it's hard to explain how dedicated world-class athletes can become during their quest to something all athletes attempt to find.... perfection. I remember the very first time I sat at a table listening to 6 or seven Olympic athletes as we had lunch. I remember as if it was yesterday as they talked back and forth about how great they were. At first I thought to myself, "How conceited. I have never heard anyone in my life talk with such arrogance or conceit. I would NEVER want to be like these people." Little did I understand that for someone to become world -class he or she must not only believe in themselves but they must know positively beyond a shadow of a doubt that THEY are the BEST in the world and it just becomes a way of life. I realized later in years that they were not boasting or bragging, if anything they were convincing themselves and their own sub-conscious that they where that good.

Now, once again I find myself setting goals and wanting to be the best there is. It's no different than an alcoholic desiring the next drink or a smoker wanting the next cigarette or even a drug addict needing the next fix. I wonder what gas will do if I shoot some up or possibly take a swig since it may be hard to light up?

Some of the best satisfaction I get from racing is sharing all the excitement with friends and family and it doesn't always have to be done in a car. And speaking of great athletes, not too long ago I took one of my favorite nephews with me to a race. It was in a favorite town where I had spent many a summer as a boy and a town where I had many a dream of someday owning or driving a fast car. As we sat in the seats of the grandstands watching the races all evening I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that I had lived across the street from the track long ago before the track was even built and now here I sat with a fine young man who possibly has the same dreams I did at his age. As the cars raced around the track I watched as he kept track of every lap they made never minding the dirt in the eyes as we both cheered for our favorites. During the very last race as the announcer mentioned the names of the drivers he said, "Hey... that's a friend of mine. We played football together. GO CODY!" It made the race even better and it was a good one too with the last two laps making it even more thrilling as the driver's own father was catching him on the track and almost pulled it off. People where screaming, fans cheering, cars crashing, beer that had bugs in it... what else could anyone ask for except to have such a fine young man along to share in all the fun? One of these days I hope to have him along for a race weekend so he can take a bigger part in the excitement and share in the adventure. Good things happen to good people. You may ask what this all has to do with La Carrera Panamericana. It's young people who have the dreams that and desires that send them onto the journeys that lead them to challanges that we accepting or mastering. Without the dreams the adventure means nothing.

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