I have been a fan of Indy Car Racing for a very long time. I grew up watching the Indy 500 on television. My first “real” job was working security at the corporate offices of Red Roof Inns, which also included the Indy car race shop, TrueSports. We eventually had two Indycar teams in Hilliard when I was a police officer there. I have met many drivers: Bobby Rahal, Scott Pruett, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves…. They are all fantastic people. I’ve seen the dangers of racing. I remember the deaths of several drivers. back in the day I believe was Swede Savage. Greg Moore was the first in recent times I remember. Dan Wheldon, and now Justin Wilson. It is a dangerous sport. So why do they do it? I read a recent article by Tony Kanaan titled,“Why We Race” that explains it quite well. Tony states in the article that they race when they know it is dangerous, because….. that is what they do, Race cars!
I am in touch with that thought process. I am a guy that is over 50, and is just now trying to open a martial arts dojo! I have been studying martial arts for over 20 years. I still go to our Beisho camps and come home all beat up and sore, and mind spinning from new things. Why do it? Why now? Because that’s what I do, and that’s what I love! And I can’t see myself not doing it. My passion leads me to do martial arts to the fullest, and try to introduce others to the thing I love. So I go, and I try new things, and learn more weapons that hurt in the learning process, and put a white belt back on and start a new system. Because that’s what I do.
I spent the vast majority of my adult life, doing things that most people didn’t want to do. Going places that most people refused to go. Being what most people despised. I grew up the son of a police officer. I grew up in a family where most of the men served in the military. I had no pie-in-the-sky notions about what I was getting myself into. I knew all too well the toll it would take on me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and the toll it would take on my family. But that is what we do. I loved my profession. I enjoyed it to the day I retired. I am proud of my career and the people with whom I served. Why did we do it? Because that’s who we are and that’s what we do. Public sentiment isn’t well for law enforcement these days. And that’s unfair, because we put our lives on the line, even for those who hate us and try and kill us. Because that’s what we do.
The 14th anniversary of 9/11 is tomorrow. I remember that day too well. I remember where I was, I remember trying to get back home, so I could get to work.We had no idea what was going on. We watched the horror. And we lost too many. I had met cops from NYC over the years, prior to 2001. And I worried about the people I had met, and those who were known to others. Over the years, I have heard the stories about the first responders that day. Since moving to Staten Island, I am hearing many more. And many asked why they did it? They had an idea of the danger, and yet they drove in and drove on. Why? Because that’s what they do. It’s for days like that, that you train your whole life. That’s what you do. Our military is no different. They go into dangerous places and do dangerous things because that’s what they do, for us!
Take some time over the next few days to remember those who have gone before; those who did what they do in any profession. Those who taught to live a passionate life doing what they do best, to its fullest. Sometimes we see them as heroes, as examples, as people we want to be when we grow up. Remember and give thanks for all the passionate who have gone before us. And then answer the call for you. Make a new commitment to live life to the fullest. Take steps to reach farther than you ever thought possible. Become who you are. And inspire others to do the same.