My first one in 2010 I was timid. No, seriously! I was the assistant started but I made no movement toward the flagstand and I stood on the infield like a lost puppy. I was eyeing the flagstand but I didn't know if it was appropriate to go to it without permission. It wasn't until the starter signaled me to come over that I was able to do it.
With each subsequent year it became a tad bit easier but I still never felt 100% as if I belonged. Why was this? While the Hoosier 100 is a USAC event it wasn't the typical routine. I know what we do and how we do it in the .25 series but for the series I don't typically do I'm not confident in what and how to do it.
In terms of flags I am confident, but it's in the pre-event things I'm unsure of. Where are the official shirts? Or the radios? To most it's probably an easy thing to go in, be assertive, and ask for what is needed but this is where I struggle. It isn't easy to speak up and ask for what I need even though it's what I need.
This year though was slightly different as while I had the same title of assistant Tom, the primary starter, would be a bit late so I was responsible for practice. Not having a radio would not work; I had to be assertive in getting the stuff I needed to get the job done.
It may have taken six times but last night I was able to, finally, walk in with confidence as if I belonged. And all this didn't have to do with others treating me as if I didn't, it just takes some repetition before I feel as if I belong.
Practice went great and Tom showed up and I assisted him and I had as great of a time as I did five years ago. I was just as giddy as the 27 USAC silver crown cars took the green and shook the ground as I was five years ago and at the end I was about as dirty as possible and as akwYs the dirt never felt so good.