Returning to what I love best, Nascar and Writing
We have seasons in our life and that includes our profession as well. Dale, Jr. is no exception. The opposition has already retired Dale, Jr. in their minds. Questioning his career move from DEI to Hendrick and stating that as a driver his best years are behind him now. Only true Dale, Jr. fans know this couldn’t be further from the truth. After a couple years of writing actively for www.speedwaymedia.com I had to leave it for the moment. A divorce, caring for my elderly Uncle and my own personal health issues including surgery to repair 2 small brain aneurysms in July of 2009 caused me to have to stop a hobby I loved writing for my favorite sport! I am back and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be too. Remembering our roots and our passion is what keeps one growing and becoming even better than before. With that being said I wanted to post my very first article I wrote in October 2002 and posted as my first article for www.speedwaymedia.com in 2003.
Not Just Another Fan Chasing a Hero
In a world where everything that glitters is gold, fame fortune and more media attention than anyone can stand. People just want to get close to the drivers, to look at them, to touch them, to get an autograph and have that moment ingrained in their memory forever. What if the driver being the human being that he is, touches another unknown human being through words and wisdom? In the eyes of this unknown person the driver could be Mickey Mouse. All that matters to the fan is the two shares an experience of pain and sadness, and because this driver talked so openly and freely about his pain, he helped someone he didn’t even know who was.
My story is probably a little different than most. I became a fan of Nascar after the Dayton 500 in 2001 where Dale, Sr. lost his life. Before that Sunday I knew very little about racing. I had never heard of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Over the years, other than the name Petty, I had of Gordon and Earnhardt. I didn’t know much about either one, but I did know if you loved one, you hated the other and visa versa.
That February evening in 2001, I logged onto Nascar.com for the first time. There was a feature called multimedia and it had Dale, Jr. speaking for the family just hours after his Dad had been killed. Other than being Dale Earnhardt’s son I knew nothing about him until that night. For the days and weeks to come, I followed stories and my heart bled for him and his family. I lost my Mother in May 1999, my relationship with her seemed to be similar to Dale, Jr’s relationship with Dale, Sr.
During the next several months multimedia featured Dale, Jr. talking mostly about this loss, his grief and how he will make it through the season. I related so to the things he said. How he was dealing with this grief, what got him up in the morning and what got him to the racetrack on weekends. He talked about the things that gave him comfort and would allow him to go on. The interviews he did with Darrell Waltrip were the most comforting for me. I am an only child; I did have the support of friends and even grief support groups.
Finally, I found someone who felt just like I did. At that time, almost 2 years since my Mother’s death I was still in so much pain. Being able to listen to these interviews on multimedia enabled me to heal. Dale, Jr. couldn’t hear me but I could hear him. I became a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan not because of his ability to drive a race car but because I had to turned to these videos for support and inspiration. I became on hooked on the human side of Dale, Jr. and will remember him as someone who helped me heal a little more from the death of my Mother.
Now, nearing the end of the 2002 season I an avid Nascar fan. I cheer for many drivers now. I am a faithful DEI fan but I cheer for other drivers as well. I love the sport, and I have been to several races. The one thing I would like my story to convey is, we never really know how we touch other people. The drivers get to what they love to do, the sponsors get to sell a lot of what the drivers advertise on the cars and the fans get to go to races and have a good time. Sometimes when famous people let their human side show for the world to see, to one unknown person, it may be the answer to prayer and hope that life does go on. (10/2002)
As I resume and continue my love for writing and Nascar, I will always be proud of my first article and the story it tells. I am grateful to www.speedwaymedia.com, my fellow writers and the fans that support all of us. My hope is my passion for my hobby and the sport will only be the beginning of great things to come. Dale Jr. fans, Hang on because he may be down right now, but he is not out!