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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fireworks at Supercross

After missing a couple years of missing the race the tradition of attending the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series returned this past weekend. My dad and I always go early and watch the practice runs and we were even on the CBS telecast, albeit for just a flash as this photo proves, from Ryan Villopoto's GoPro camera (I added a small arrow to point myself out.)

As the actual program began the normal array of lasers and pyrotechnics occurred and I thought back to all the years I found "excuses" to leave the seating area during this segment.

I've never understood the need to unleash concussion fireworks on the public. I mean, at the end of the night, what are people going to remember most? Will it be the thrilling main event that has 20 riders competing for the race win, or will it be the obnoxiously loud things that go boom? I'm probably in the minority in my distaste for those boomers, but back in 90's when we attended I had no real way to describe just why I hated them so much.

I was much more prepared for them on Saturday night than I used to be. I can remember the 2nd year we went I was so nervous as I didn't know when they would be set off. I knew they would be at some point in time because I made sure to be on the look out for the people that set them up but the exact point I was unsure of.

There's two points I need to make before I keep writing and eventually forget to make the points I want to make. The first is that this, obviously, is a sensory episode. The concussion boomers are not kind to my system. However, they are much worse, and this is my second point, when I don't know when they are going to happen. This raises the anxiety level and I'm pretty sure a raised anxiety level increases the level of discomfort for sensory issues.

Now let's go back to the 90's. This was before I was diagnosed and before I even knew what a "sensory issue" was. What could I have said to, well, anyone on how I felt. At that age of 13 or 14 wasn't I supposed to be "over" being "scared" of such things? Wasn't I? I certainly felt pressure to "be normal" yet at the same time the crushing anticipation of the exploding fireworks wore on me all day. I was good though at my timing of having to use the restroom, or having a headache, or needing fresh air.

Today I am able to verbalize these issues, but back then I felt ashamed about it. Without knowing what I had I had no one to blame but myself. And yet, when I say blame, I sort of knew that there was no "off switch" to this fear and anxiety that I experienced but I still thought I could just "be normal" like everyone else there.

I go back to my question I asked, what do people remember at the end of an event like Supercross. Is it the concussion fireworks? The racing? I know I left Saturday night thinking that the racing I saw was one of the more intense Supercross events I've seen. This was a much better feeling than that which I used to leave with. The feeling back then was confusion and a lingering question of, "What's different about me?" Thank goodness I found that answer out.

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