Sitting here drinking my Artisan Coffee – not really in this case cause hospital food sucks; of course sitting in a hospital after getting dehydrated from a stomach bug I think I caught from my three-year old grandson – but I can’t blame him too much – but I had some thoughts. After so many years of racing, I’ve come to a conclusion and make this observation.
Racers certainly fall under the heading the title of this Blog. Why else would we do something which seemingly has inherent dangers to not only our bodies but maybe more so, our wallets as well, and sometimes with very little reward.
But it’s not much more than the adrenaline rush we get from a fast pass or seeing a win light on in our lane, and I can only guess is the same feeling any other motorsports enthusiast feels. It’s what keeps us coming back for more. A sort of addiction if you will.
“Hi. My name is (fill in the blank) and I’m a drag racer.”
Maybe that doesn’t explain it as well as something such as “I’m an alcoholic,” but it could fall under the same category.
As most of you may be aware, I’m going through a bout with that c-word crap. As an update, from what the docs tell me, things are progressing well but I still have a number of chemo sessions to finish up and hopefully keep me healthy. But I long to get back out behind the wheel and race. It’s just what we as racers do. The thing I’m realizing is that most don’t understand our thinking, and in my case, when I say most, who I mean are the doctors and nurses who are really taking very good care of me.
At the end of one of my “sessions,” one of the nurses asked, “What do you have planned for the rest of the day?”
As if I have nothing better to do then sit in my recliner and watch old TV shows. I think she was taken back when I explained, “I’m going back to work. I got things which need to be done.”
I’ve been asked about retiring. That “retiring” thing was explained to me by Super Stock racer Bob Bagley when he said, “Retiring to me means when I have to put new tires on my truck and trailer.”
It was back quite a while ago when I needed a somewhat minor operation on my foot. I asked the doctor, “How long will I have to be in a walking boot and not a sneaker?”
“Okay, I have a three week stretch of no races, let’s do it then.” Never mind that the operation was becoming necessary to do it, I got races to go to!
I was hospitalized with some emergency surgery for scar tissue back in August and once it was done, all I wanted to do was go home and get back to work. Doctors said I’d have to remain in the hospital for a couple of days. “Oh, that’s just not going to work. I wanna go home!”
After being on a liquid diet for two days, docs said they’d give me a full breakfast and lunch and as long as I didn’t get nauseous, they’d release me. “Trust me, I won’t get nauseous.” And the truth was, even if I did get nauseous, I wouldn’t have admitted to it anyway. I had things to do, I wanted to go home.
Jet car racer Al Hanna reiterated much the same story when he had to spend time in a hospital after an operation. “You have to spend a couple of days in the hospital.” “No, I don’t. Either you release me or I’m walking out of here on my own. It’s as if the outside world doesn’t understand how determined racers are,” said Hanna.
One driver, who shall remain nameless, required a rather important heart operation. But he had races to go to. The only reason he eventually relented was when his team owner forced him into it. And at that the doctors were amazed he even walked in the hospital by himself, knowing how hurt his heart was.
I’m hoping and praying we can all continue to do what maybe we have been put on this earth to do. I’m really not sure that’s the reason why we’re here, but I know it’s what keeps us going.
Racers. A bunch of tough guys.