Thursday, August 28, 2008
Part of my "job" as a racer is to always be cheery and approachable to fans. Even after a bad moto when all I want to do is hide away and not talk to anyone its not always possible. Washougal, which almost always falls on my birthday has never gone well for me. It is what it is. This year was no different and after my moto all I wanted to do was take a few minutes for myself and reflect, maybe sulk a little before moving on and preparing for my next race. As I was sitting there silently chewing myself out for missing the podium by one spot in the second moto, "no one cares who gets 4th, its not good enough, they only care about top three." This is something I have learned from my years of racing, noticing that when you win everyone in the industry is your friend but if you are not up there on the podium people who loved you all year look the other way when they walk by you in the pits. Its really sad and unfortunately adds that much pressure on you to perform.
So as I am sitting there mad at myself for letting everyone down I am interrupted by a line of people asking for pictures and autographs. I do my best to put a smile on my face and try not to roll my eyes when they tell me "good job" its hard for me to believe when I feel I did such a "bad" job. Its not that I am being a poor sport or a spoiled brat, I give credit to all the girls that beat me and offer up no excuses, they were just better than me that day. That's what drives a person to be a better racer. If you are content with 4th place you will never do better than that. But today I didn't have time to sit back and be "incontinent" I had to get up and respect my fans. And soon I was in a better mood, I obviously couldn't have done THAT bad if all of these people, girls and boys, women and men of all ages think I did so great.
My mood was already improving when I met Paige and Emma, pictured above. I have such a soft spot for little kids as it is but these two were particularly sweet. After signing Paige's hat and taking a picture with her, her younger sister didn't want to be left out so she came at me holding the sleeve of her pink sweater. I gave her parents a glance, making sure it was ok, signing a hat or T-shirt is one thing I didn't want to ruin her cute little pink sweater. They gave me a nod and I signed "GIRLS RULE!" and my name. Then as her mom took a picture she gave me what I needed, a hug. I work so hard throughout the year and it can be so discouraging, especially when I went to the race by myself, just meeting my mechanic a friend of a friend, that day. I had no one there with me to lean on. So while Emma was just being a sweet little girl who wanted to thank me with a hug, I need to thank her for brightening my day letting me know that 4th place isn't that bad.