I’ll do my best to keep this brief, even though limited expression is not something I’m prone to when it comes to writing or speaking from the heart. I also don’t want to get mushy but I do need to be sincere.
At the end of every year, I usually take the time to reflect back on what I’ve experienced over the last 12 months – be it personal obstacles or achievements, family-orientated moments, travel experiences, work accolades, friendships and their ever-changing presence in life, or simple things… like the sunsets I breathed in on warm & quiet summer nights, the liberating meditative states I found myself in very rarely but cherishing immensely, the smell of the track on race morning just before all the garage doors lifted & the engines roared, or the sound of a packed venue in that millisecond between the last chord being struck & the first ear-piercing scream from a fan, with a crowd that followed right in tune.
All of these elements and countless others made up my 2013. One of those countless others has been a stand out in the last quarter of the year, in particular. That one thing is what you’re experiencing with me right now… this column, which is part of a much bigger site – Wheels, which in turn, is part of an even larger network and branding by the name of More Than a Fan. I was honored to be invited to write for this site a few months ago. And from my first piece, I came to find it was run by truly great people with a passion and commitment that I find inspiring, and I find myself in the company of writers /racing family/sports fanatics who constantly push me to be the best version of the “writer-me” that I am capable of being… they are amazing and I am humbled to be a part of something so special.
So this, I suppose… is really more of a thank you letter than anything else. A thank you not only to this site for giving me a platform for my creativity and opinions which, honestly, I never could have imagined… but to the fans of this site and the fans that we call family, regardless of whether or not we’ve met – you’re the ones that keep this venture alive and continue the demand to see our words in print. And yes, I know I thanked you all on Thanksgiving as well… but hey, ‘tis the season!
After such a great year, it’s hard to imagine how 2014 could possibly “out-do” it… but I have high hopes. The only thing constant is change and I know it’s already on the horizon. My schedule is changing pretty dramatically with my day job come January – same amount of work but organized pretty differently, the IndyCar season will be condensed – giving us just as much excitement but in a smaller time frame, and who knows what else is coming down the line! While change can be a bit scary sometimes, I actually find it sort of fun… like being given a new puzzle to put together. We have to make sense of things that once seemed so common place. We have to make space for people and activities that weren’t even a part of the picture a short time ago. We have to accept loss and not cling to things from the past – no matter how much we miss someone or something from our world, we can’t move forward if we don’t make peace with what is unchangeable. Change does in fact, encourage us to grow and therefore, we must embrace it.
Hmm, I suppose this thought is how New Year’s resolutions were born…
Regardless, the idea of change – even though inevitable across the board – seems to scare a good majority of people. They are comfortable with situations, people, protocols, etc., exactly the way they are and see no reason to change for the sake of change. However, I find that even though not always at the surface, the reason for change is rarely pointless… there is always a catalyst. Take IndyCar for example – the connection between fans & the series, specifically. Change is just as promised in racing as it is in any of our lives. Maybe, just maybe, it is even more prevalent… given the driver, the team and/or the day of week that we’re looking at. The tracks change, the pit crew & engineers change, the car design changes along with the sponsors & the color schemes, and of course… the drivers change. Not everyone does well with this continual barrage of information – sadly, I know people who lost interest in the sport of IndyCar once the “big names” went from sitting behind the wheel to sitting in the owner’s suites. I actually feel bad for them because I know that this series is just as amazing as it’s always been. Sure, the names change and the technology adapts, giving a different dynamic to how the driver & machine work together to create consistency & ultimately, victory… but I don’t think those things make the events any less thrilling or nail-biting! If anything, I think these changes strengthen the series, furthering the intricate details to what it takes to be a champion and constantly challenging the drivers and their teams to not only educate themselves on performance technology, but to push their own bodies to limits they may not have imagined in past decades. The teams become just as well-oiled of a machine, as the DW12 itself… striving for and sometimes, seemingly reaching… perfection.
This level of expertise is only achieved when they accept change, adapt to it and embrace it entirely.
That is the mentality I have tried to maintain in recent years on a personal level and it is never an easy one. But, it is worth it in the long run. The results are both unexpected and extremely satisfying. So, I challenge you to do the same in this coming year – embrace the changes that come your way, rather than being apathetic or adverse to them. I have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised by what the world can offer you when you open yourself up to the unknown & different. I hope to hear all about your adventures and I most certainly look forward to sharing more of mine with you.