Racing season is just now starting it's punch packing and we are all getting into the full swing of things. For some it's felt like it has already been an uphill battle that has only just started. Technical problems already, multiple wrecks, arguments with other drivers and track officials, it just seems they can't get a break this season. Racing moves in the way much like life does in my opinion. So many uphill battles at one time and then other times everything seems to hit the mark and it just becomes smooth sailing. I prefer a somewhat struggle or test in life and in racing. It truly shows what you're made of or how smart you are about your limits and when you've had enough. I never compare myself to others but I do like to see how others handle the struggles they come across in different ways than I do. Everyone is different and I appreciate that about the human race. In racing I get to see drivers, many at a time, go through the exact same difficult circumstances on and off the track but what I enjoy most is seeing how each one handles it differently. Observe the track and the people at it long enough and you can see most are going through the same problems and each one has a specific way of dealing with it. Some bulldoze through problems, at times at the embarrassment to themselves for lack of thinking, some quietly think things over until a solution is made, and some totally ignore the problems they face. Everyone is different and no one way is correct for one person over the next. Drivers decide for themselves what they must do and how to do it. I call the moment they must decide, the give ups, the give in and the get over its.
In a sport of serious competition and with so much at stake, things can get heated between drivers and grudges between both can fester and grow. I've seen it between fans and pit crews also. Many take these grudges and hold on to them week after week, year after year, and when it comes time on the track to race, those grudges boil over again and again and when fans and crew members get involved it becomes a mess. Some of these grudges come from repetitious beating and banging, some from getting constantly beat, and some from just severe cases of jealousy. Believe me, that jealousy can be an ugly thing. I stay far away from that emotion because it just isn't me. Now with these grudges different drivers handle it in different ways. Driver A may go in and completely take Driver B out at every opportunity he gets but at the end of the day what does he have to show for it? A lot of personal money wasted and for everyone to see you might not be able to handle your problems in an intelligent way. Then there are those who carefully plot and plan how to handle a grudge and when the time is just right they make good on it without damage to themselves but plenty to the other. Then there are some that no matter how hard their feelings are towards another driver they just let it go each week when they hit the track until the other driver does something again, in which they are mad for about five minutes and let it go again because dealing with that after they leave the track is just too time consuming and ignoring it just seems the easier way.
There is a difference between a grudge and a rivalry and anyone who thinks about it long enough can see that. Grudges help no one. They are a deeper lever of hatred I think and help our sport in no way. A rivalry is two drivers who don't necessarily hate each other but have a fierce level of competition and provide good entertainment on the track for everyone. Grudges never help the sport by bringing negative emotions into the situation but a rivalry can be healthy if it's left on the track and in no way detrimental to either driver or other drivers on the track. Many drivers and fans will handle these differently but as far as grudges go, whatever way they are dealt with will determine your night that night and should be carefully considered because instead of getting your point across you may just embarrass yourself.
The race life can have many perks and a few downfalls. People and the travel can keep your mind and soul stimulated and they can also cause more than their fair share of problems. I like to travel and I like people. I always have. A wanderer by nature, my soul needs to be let free from time to time and travel does that and being at a race track gives me inner calm which is why you will see me off to myself a lot of times just soaking it in. The travel and people can make the racing life worth it and can also bring on the negative side which I usually don't focus on. In a lot of cases I see, the drivers love the travel and the people around the tracks but in some cases both become more than they can handle. Sometimes the constant traveling and negativity some people bring makes a driver feel he's had enough or that he's just too tired to carry on. Some may give up the struggles of racing for a little peace of mind and calm in their life which doesn't make them a quitter, it makes them self aware and most never truly leave racing, they just becomes fans and go to watch and enjoy from the other side of the fence. Some drivers give in to the negativity and that's what they let it turn them into. No joy in what they do, just negative emotions carried with them from track to track and dealing with people there. Then again, some drivers get over the negative emotions and ignore them and keep doing what they're doing. They all handle things differently. Like I said, no one way is the correct way and everyone should be given the respect to make the choices for their own life how they see fit.
Racing and life are a series of fluctuations and tests. Sometimes pushing uphill, sometimes coasting free and easy. They both require at minimum, everything you have. Always a test in something I think. I learn a lot about myself and others through these tests. I know which drivers are patient and which are not. I learn which drivers have a good heart and which may be more on the selfish side. Which drivers are self aware and which throw caution to the wind. I sometimes put myself in their situations and like to think of what I would do although my own life is not without it's own tests. So much I can tell about people in the racing community by how they face problems. Some don't think and some think too much. Racing is beyond their control almost like two people who meet and are meant to be. They have no control over it and how they handle the relationship determines the outcome. Racing becomes your life just like that relationship and in most cases nothing can separate you from racing no matter the difficulties and in that relationship between two people no matter what happens nothing stops them from being together. Racing is a relationship and whatever comes your way you have the option to decide which direction you take it. I've learned when to give up, when to give in, and when to get over it through racing. Drivers and fans alike have taught me more than they know. Learning when it's a time of action or when to just sit back and wait for the time to make my move and learning when I've had enough are what I've gained.
Seeing a driver break something on a car on what looked to be a promising night shows what to do when things don't go your way or when the grudges boil over and become a scene shows for me that sitting back and calmly assessing the situation is usually how you will get your way in the end and your point can be made loud and clear. Now in the interest of disclosure I have a temper and can go zero to a hundred real quick but it takes a near act of the universe to get me there. Racing brings all these people in this community to crossroads at some point with dealing with difficulties in one way or another. It's another reason we're all so close because we've all been there once or twice. Defining people by their choices in handling things when they don't go right is something we do in order to know who is like us, who we relate with, and who we don't want to be around. I don't judge by people's preferences in dealing with their own lives but I will use it as a point of reference. Deciding what to do for yourself and your life and your racing career is your decision and shouldn't have to meet the approval of others. If you push through, it will always be hard but can be so much more than you expected and deciding you've had enough doesn't make you a quitter, it just makes you aware of how much you can take and when to walk away. Then the getting over it can show that you don't let much get to you and prefer to focus elsewhere. Whichever way the drivers, fans, and crews decide to go with whatever comes their way, we can all say we've been where they are at some point. However they handle it, let it be used as a lesson, either good or bad, to make us all better in our racing community and in our lives. When you see a driver make that decision to give up, give in or get over it, ask yourself what you would do and then watch how things unfold for them. Take a lesson from racing and always remember that we are all different and all handle things differently but for the most part we are all together in this life and in this sport and whatever way we choose it's all up to us how our sport and how our lives turn out. It's just all in how we decide. My question to you is......Which way will you go?