It's over... today is the saddest day of the year as today marks the point in time I have to wait until the next one.
Saturday too was a long day (15 hours on track!) but I enjoy every second of it. Even when things go awry and it becomes a challenge I relish those moments as I must hold back emotion and frustration to continue doing the best job that I can. As the photo to the right proves, I usually have an unemotional expression as I am always in a state of concentration. As physical as it is, to stand all day as the chief starter, I have to keep track of all the karts on track. After a while, paying attention that long becomes expensive. (sorry, I couldn't have that line!)
Super Sunday came and the aspect of the competition became secondary because there was a tribute to Dan Wheldon. This hit me hard because I was there last month. Ekartingnews' Rob Howden spoke about him over the PA and quoted Dan's line that, "Karting is the purest form of motorsport." Dan had raced in the Supernats every year that I have done it and he was entered for this event.
The tribute was more than just words though as 11 rows of three karts took to the track for a two lap memorial. The front row of karts had two karts Dan raced in previous years and the kart he was supposed to race this year. All the corner workers waived their flags, as did I, and in this video you can see me as the karts come by the finish line:
Contrary to that paragraph, the power doesn't go to my head, but it is just so awesome to be the one who pulls the trigger and starts the race.
Super Sunday, as it is called, was from my end a smooth day. As I said earlier, I try to remain unemotional when I flag, but on Super Sunday I do give a smile as the leader comes off the final corner and takes my checkered flag.
With each race that passed I was inching closer to the end. This event is my ultimate Kansas and if there is a point in time when I am "normal," it is out there on that track. I am on equal footing and part of a team. As I sit here in McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas I must admit that I do have tears in my eye writing this. To experience such bliss, such normality, and to have it end is rough. The person across from me just asked me, "are you okay?" and I simply nodded.
I find it odd that I have Asperger Syndrome and one of the symptoms is, "impaired communication skills" and yet what makes me such a good starter/flagman is the way I communicate through the flags. I do communicate to the drivers by my eye contact and the manner I display the flags. I think the drivers appreciate it as over half the drivers on Sunday, in the morning warmup, waived to me as that would be the last session they would be on track that wasn't in the heat of battle. And here in lies the small tragedy for me; on track for those five days which totaled 64 hours, I am the best communicator, and once it is over I go back to my reserved, socially unaware self.
Well, I'm getting hungry and also getting kind of tired of people asking me if I'm okay so I will end this here. It was an amazing five days on track and it's a long day for me as I get home late, and it will be a longer day tomorrow as my dad and I head to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving. This year will also see my sister and nephew, Kimberly and Caden, coming with us so that should be interesting.