I fell asleep to rain and woke up to it. As I shook my mind awake, there was a frenzy going on. The last day of this adventure, mixed with those uneasy feelings I had yesterday, made me feel sick. Rain hit my window with the rhythm of my heart, slow-paced yet all over. The thunder and lightning became abundant when we got in the car, making my nerves come through.
When it sunk in on the ride over, I wanted to turn around. I wasn’t ready to face the obstacle of Race Day. Or was I? My emotions like to screw with me, as you can see from this three-part blurb. Between sitting down with Justin Wilson to sitting in a press conference with AJ Foyt, I learned that trying to become a sports reporter was tougher than it seemed when you’re sixteen. Here I am, with my whole future ‘figured out’ when it really isn’t. I’ll elaborate more later on.
Heading into the Media Center, I didn’t know what to expect after yesterday. Katie, the intern, saw me and said she read my blog post. I kindly smiled, hiding worry; she knew how I felt in that press conference. I was use to people I barely knew reading my personal tweets and entries, thinking nothing of it. Now someone was confronting me with it. She quickly offered a Poptart. Feeling a bit exposed, I declined.
I glanced at the table and thought about yesterday’s announcement as I sat in the exact same seat. Watching AJ Foyt Racing introduce Chase Austin as the driver to attempt to qualify in 2013 for the Indy 500. He will be the third African American driver to run the prestigious race if he qualifies. I witnessed history, in a way, but my thoughts and insecurities affected it.
In a way, I felt the same as I did then, so we left the town and roamed for the longest time, getting pictures of some more drivers. It tugged at me while we went from hauler to hauler. For a slight moment, I searched for a real reason to be there.
We went back to the car and cooled down in the air conditioning, and I felt so overwhelmed. So invisible.
Most of all, a part of me felt ungrateful. That’s what made my heart crack.
I believe in chances. This weekend was one of those. To have a section of me long to leave the track was insane; did I not see what was in front of me, or was I somewhat unimpressed? There I was, sitting in a car, wondering if being there was what I wanted.
Maybe I was just having a mood swing. That’s what teenage girls go through, you know. Mom gave me a tissue and said I was putting too much pressure on myself. I’m known to do that, also. This was a “life experience,” as Mom calls my blog and the consequential adventures, and I needed to take it all in.
I wasn’t there to work. I was there to observe, learn.
The back of my hand going across my eyes, I sighed. Time to have some fun, at least.
Entering the track once more, we trekked into the infield as the race started and devoured a funnel cake. I found myself running up to the fence like a little kid, snapping pictures and smiling as the cars flashed by. They sounded like a mechanical beehive, all buzzing in harmony. Something about it was weirdly enchanting. High-pitched, almost wheezy.
Like breathing. That’s what I needed to do: breathe.
After the walking and getting blurred photos, I stepped into the Media Center one last time. Unlike earlier, it was silent except for the TV’s noise, as the screen showed the race. We sat down in the back row and watched the coverage. Scott Dixon had the field covered. Mid Ohio has been very nice to him, apparently. Mom was whispering cheers for James Hinchcliffe under her breath, which I quickly got over.
Being a very loud person, I wanted to scream in that still center. Everyone acted like drones, clicking on their computers, looking up, then going back. It felt like everyone needed a big hug.
It was time to go with five laps left in the race. We were trying to beat traffic, but my mind was geared different again.
Because, as soon as we got in that car, I flipped the radio on and cued up MRN.
NASCAR talk made me grin wider than Texas.
I respect all forms of racing, and I gained even more respect for IndyCar over this eventful weekend. But, no matter what, NASCAR is my first love because I’ve grown up around it, grown into a family of fans. Every time an IndyCar race is on TV now, though, I will be watching; this is ten times more dangerous.
Less sheet metal, less room for error. I like that aspect.
Mid Ohio and the Mansfield News Journal both made it possible for me to witness the races, so I thank them from the bottom of my heart. It’s an experience I will never forget. Not because it was my first media weekend, but because it helped me open my eyes and grow up more.
Thank you all for going through these three days with me. I may be enticing you, or I may be boring you to death. Either way, I hope I’ve made you think.
Never take anything for granted, always live like it’s your last day, and say, “Hello” to the world every once in a while. It’s important, trust me.