I never expected that I would go to a NASCAR race, let alone to admit that it would morph into an experience in which I learned some life lessons. When I met my finance, I would almost hazard to say that his love for NASCAR was what I considered to be one of his flaws. NASCAR seemed so, well, country. I had been working hard for two decades on my own levels of personal sophistication: boarding school, private school, living in Europe, eating cheese and drinking wine. NASCAR wasn’t part of the plan.
I do like big crowds of people and mega sporting events, so I eagerly agreed to my first race this past weekend at the Richmond International Raceway. We had friends going, the weather was perfect, we had no other plans and the track is a mere twenty miles from my house. It was the perfect storm of opportunity and it made Brandon happy.
Much to my surprise I had an amazing time. Not only did I have fun, I’ve already booked my next race experience for Charlotte in October. From my ten hours of NASCAR observation, here are my top 5 life lessons:
- Life is better outside; music blaring from vehicles and cowboy hats to protect you from sunburn are bonuses.
- The track is noisy, just like life, but if you’re with the right people, you will never be alone (even if you can’t hear one another).
- There is a delicate balance between speed and endurance. The drivers on Richmond’s short track had to dance between those extremities, and they make it work. Life is a series of sprints, and with every sprint comes periods of recovery (or turns in this example) as well.
- Turkey legs are delicious. Yes, you can truly find healthy choices to eat just about anywhere.
- Sometimes, you just gotta gear up and get friendly. Geared up with a new Chevy trucker hat that I had bought at the Dollar General store the morning of the race, I felt like I was truly part of the NASCAR crowd. Although I didn’t (and pretty much still don’t) know a thing about racing, I managed to have conversations with strangers all day long. Though many of us didn’t have a lot in common, my Chevy hat was a conversation starter and sometimes, shared experience is all you need to share a moment with someone.