But enough if minor experiences, let's talk about moments that become frozen in time; a moment that becomes a moment that when all looks dark you can think back to that memory and have a smile brought to your face. For the sixth year in a row I got to have one of those moments.
Today was the start of the 17th SKUSA Supernats and once again I'm the chief starter for the event. It's a huge honor to be in that position and even though I am, perhaps, one of the best in the world at flagging (in the karting world I found out I'm internationally known) it still is surreal that I get the privilege of being the guy at the finish line starting the race and also being the one to greet the winner with my checkered flags as they cross the line.
As I said, this is my sixth and every year the event gets bigger and bigger. Sure, it's gotten bigger in a literal sense as we have national and international caliber drivers here ( multiple former F1 drivers, several NASCAR and Indycar drivers and over 600 other drivers from all around the world) but it also becomes bigger for myself. Each year I anticipate this event more and more because with each passing year I realize what this event has done for my life.
My life? How could working a kart race in Vegas have any impact on my life? Five years ago I worked my first Supernats and at that point in time I had little direction in life and no confidence at all. The event that year was rather difficult to work, but I persevered and actually thrived in the environment. I had never done anything like that in my life and the seeds of self-confidence were planted. From that, in the following year, I gave my first presentation and, well, without my first Supernats I can almost assure you I would not be who I am, I would not be a presenter, and I most certainly wouldn't have a blog.
Because of what this event means to me I get emotional before it each year. As I mentioned, how often can you live in a moment that transcends all others? For me, the walk from my hotel room to the track in the parking lot on day one is one of those moments. I soak it all up; the mass of people walking to the track, the sun that hasn't yet broken the horizon, and the knowledge that I'm about to partake in 13 hours of flagging ensuring everything runs as safely as possible. Today it was so much I literally had tears in my eyes as I opened the doors and stepped out into what was a rather chilly Vegas morning.
I know it probably sounds odd that something that must people would consider a job, or work, means more to me than it does to most everyone else. I once joked in a presentation that I think I have more fun and enjoyment at this event than most drivers but I don't think that line is that far from the truth. I don't think anyone treats this event as "just another race" and for me it isn't. This event added the final touches to allowing me to be who I am. Without my chance of working this race I would not be in the race spread autism awareness and understanding. It's that simple.
I might have been emotional when I walked outside but after the morning meetings when I finally stepped onto the finish line (which I refer to as "my office") and I just stood there having to remember to breathe because I was in a state if awe. Despite one of the best backdrops imaginable I was blind to it all. My concentration was on the following hours of on track activity and the knowledge, knowing full well, that five years ago I was nothing but untapped human potential but now that potential has been realized and yet there's still more and working this race will help inspire my other race of autism understanding. So with all this I hope you can see that my living out day one all over again is something that means more to me than most will ever understand.