Friday, August 29, 2008
In my early years as an Olympic Skeet shooter I was fortunate to have the best possible coach in the world and he was one that never gave up with regards to how far he pushed me. One weekend he called to ask how I had performed at the weekends event. He was excited when I told him I had taken the gold but I made a huge mistake by saying, "It's a good thing Chuck wasn't here this weekend." Needless to say my coach wasn't happy at all as he began showing me his disappointment. It was that day that I realized no podium is a good one unless you know you had competed against the very best there is and that they were performing at their peek. This is a lesson I have handed down from my coach to my son who also knows that a podium finish is worth no more than those we compete against. There is NOTHING worse that hearing someone ask, "But could you have won if so and so was there?"
Last year when Jon and I competed in La Carrera Panamericana we competed against the best Historic C drivers in the world and every spot we finished was earned. It is those same competitors that we came to know and respect, many of them we are now proud to call our friends.
Not running this years La Carrera is hard but as racers we are pushed to believe that if we can not take the challenge with the intent of going there to win it then there is absolutely no reason to go. That's just the way we do things. We also respect our friends who for what ever reason feel the same and have had to dig down deep inside to make the gut-wrenching decision to cancel this years event. While there are a few others who canceled this years race one of our very best friends, Ralf Christensson has also decided to wait until next year. This news hurts us just about as much as it has Ralf I'm sure. In a way it makes me happy we are not running this year since Ralph and his hot Monte Carlo Falcon will not be there. On the flip side of that coin the good news is there will be more La Carrera's and knowing Ralf plans on returning only inspires me all the more to return in 2009 so we can do battle. After all, what are good friends for if we can not push each other harder to be better?
Another man that motivated others to push harder who will also be dearly missed is Jerry Churchill. To say Jerry was a tenacious competitor would be putting it mildly. He too gave it all or nothing. There will positively be void at this years race.