A familiar refrain. Many times talked about but in the heat of battle so
easily forgotten. Has the world we live in gotten so bad that respect,
common decency is gone? I am encouraged when I see a line of private
citizens with their own equipment heading into the storm. That displays all
that is good about human nature. Greetings in the name of our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ.
Last weekend I wasn’t at the race track, but I was hanging around with
racers. I had the honor of officiating the wedding of Chuck and Kelli
Hossfeld. Two families and friends coming together to prepare and celebrate.
I was encouraged to see the community that will surround Chuck and Kelli as
they walk through life together. What a wonderful time.
As you might expect there was a racer or two in attendance. On in
particular, Tony Ferrante Jr., touched my heart and reminded me why I do
what I do. We reminisced about the old days, the family that used to be
modified racing. As we talked he shared how much our efforts were
appreciated. He said ”you always respected us”. Thank you Tony.
The comment stuck with me as I thought about how disrespectful we have
become as a society. Then, as if on cue, the current state of racing chimed
in and provided reason for us to be concerned. In a National series the
leader is spun out by the second place truck who goes on to win. Then he
says he needed the win and the other guy already had one.
Not to be outdone was the shoving match in Victory Lane after the SKMod
feature at a prominent local track. The driver that finished second took
exception with the way the race winner drove into him, moved him out of the
way and secured the victory. Interesting thing is if the race finished one
lap earlier the roles would have been reversed, the eventual race winner and
leader was driven into and moved out of the way by the same guy who was
upset by the returned favor.
And I could go on, rubbing is racing, moving someone out of the way is
not. Passing someone without making contact is a skill not seen too much
these days in asphalt racing. Yes contact heightens the excitement level but
it is outright dangerous. We have seen it escalate to the point of
endangering the lives of drivers and fans.
I have the opportunity to speak to many drivers at the close of driver’s
meetings. One theme I try to touch every time is mutual respect. If you
cannot look each other in the eye at the end of the race and say good job
then you disrespected someone. We should be able to compete hard, contend
for the win but be able to maintain a level of respect for one another.
Let’s face it, we are driving machines that can be considered weapons.
Some drivers carry that moniker, “that boy’s a weapon”. We need to remember
that the driver in the other car wants to go home tonight in one piece. They
have family and friends they would like to enjoy. Accidents happen but we
shouldn’t drive like an accident waiting to happen.
We think the end justifies the means. Whatever it take to win is okay.
No, it is not. Winning in racing has stopped being about trying to outrun
the other car. We have become so selfish, we think we deserve special
dispensation because we want to win. We rationalize everything by that
almighty win. That is shortsighted.
Shortsighted thinking and our ability to rationalize everything has a way
of getting us into situations that we shouldn’t be in. Oh, I am sure I have
heard every explanation for moving someone out of the way. Funny thing is
none of them hold water when compared to the respect we should have for each
I remember reading an article about driver respect and the words of Bugsy
Stevens about the code of ethics for position; if they have the position and
you couldn’t pass clean you don’t make the move. You didn’t like it, but you
lived to race another day and over time things would balance out.
I’m not here to make racing boring. Banging and bruising each other seems
to be the way of the world. We have gotten good at beating each other down,
tearing each other up and carving up one another. In the end everyone ends
up in pieces on the ground. Nothing is built up. Nothing is gained.
Remember these words from Scripture?
Matthew 7:12, The
Golden Rule, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.
This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (NLT)
If you were raised like I was this was
taught at a very early age. It was drilled in my head and today it still
reminds me there is a right way to treat others. Oh I forget just like
everyone else but I am soon reminded that I made a mistake and need to right
it. We need to return to common decency not only at the track but in the
society we live in. Life is too difficult to go through trying to tear down
everything in our way. We were created to surround ourselves with others,
value their contributions, and respect the intrinsic value each of us have
as children of God. To do anything less does not honor God.
Are you as encouraged about how people are responding in Texas? I am.
People, regular people who have an understanding and respect for human life
reaching out on their own to help. Lynda is waiting to hear back from
Samaritan’s Purse to bring a team down; they have so many volunteers it may
take two weeks to schedule her trip. There isn’t a greater picture of what
is right with humanity than this. We know how we would want to be treated.
We know what is right. When we are subject to something out of our control
our heart aches for someone to come along side and lift us up. We have to
decide are we here to serve or be served?.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls
alone is in real trouble.
Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how
can one be warm alone?
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand
back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT)
Until next time, remember God loves you
and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful
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May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don
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