Monday, November 22, 2010

Reflections on a Weird Weekend

So here I am at gate D38 of McCarran airport. The past two days were very unusual in terms of what Mother Nature provided for us in the Rio parking lot.

I don't know if this is a saying, but it should be, our weather was as odd as a rainbow in Vegas. I saw about four different rainbows and on Saturday we actually had rain racing. I love flagging this event to get one more week of nice weather before returning home to the frigid weather of the midwest, but this year the weather was much nicer at home than it was in Vegas.

As weird as Saturday's rains were nothing will ever (hopefully) compare to the conditions of yesterday. The final day of the Supernats known as, "Super Sunday" felt different this year. The weather forecast was for steady rains and constant winds. Because of this the program felt hurried, because it was in a way.

From the moment I awoke on Sunday I could hear the winds outside. In the hall outside my room the roar of the winds were very ominous. Then, as I walked through the halls on the ground floor towards the track, the hall literally had a head wind!

Once outside the clouds were thick and the winds strong. Nevertheless we started on time and the rain held back minus a few spits of moisture.

The racing was great; in TaG Senior we had a finish had a margin of victory of .001 of a second! After this race the winds went from strong to super strong.

The S4 race will go down as a race I will never forget. In turn four on lap one 30 something karts got stuck in a traffic jam blocking the track. The track was cleared just in time on lap two so the race did not go red. This was very confusing as the leaders blended in with karts that got going again and it was difficult. What made it more difficult was the fact that standing was now a challenge due to the winds. A few laps later I heard, "RED FLAG! RED FLAG! We've lost our race track!"

All over the track our walls were sliding about. Water barriers slid about and our small plastic walls moved as if someone had a huge string and were pulling them. It looked surreal and it was hard to believe what was being seen.

We got lucky in that we only had two races to go and we still finished ahead of schedule.

I can't believe it is over. The past five days are my favorite of the year and just as fast as they came they are over. I don't want to wait another year until the next one. An entire year! So depressing! I mean, this event is the anchor of my year and now it will be a year until I experience the long hours and intense concentration that is required at this race.

I got up earlier than I wanted to this morning and decided to take the time and go to the Pinball Hall of Fame. What's that, you ask? It is a place that has many different pinball tables that one can actually play. It was a trip down memory lane for me as I saw many tables I can remember playing as a young child. There were also games made from the 50's that I tried out and can say I am happy with the progression of technology!

Of everyone at the Pinball Hall of Fame I think that I may have been one of the youngest! It was weird because I could see everyone in there was having the same experience I was having. It truly is weird to re-experience a game you remember playing many years ago.

I started out by playing current games, but quickly gravitated towards games I grew up with in the 90's. Then I found it, the Star Trek The Next Generation pinball table. I have so many memories of that table dating back to the first time I saw it at the Exhilarama at Crestwood Plaza. Then the 7-11 near my house had it and many times my dad would give me a quarter and he would be stuck there waiting for me to play one game for an hour (I am somewhat good at pinball).

It was a moving experience really. I did set my highest score ever on that game, but unlike years ago where it was about the score, this time it was about being connected to what was. My time there was all too short, but I was advised to get to the airport two hours early (which means, for me, to be three hours early).

So here I sit at D38 waiting. The plane has pulled up and I am 35 minutes from boarding. This will not be the end of this journey though.Tomorrow I will be in a car headed to the Washington D.C. area and then next week a potential trip to New York City. Well, I should get all my things in order (I have made myself quite at home) and set to get on the plane.

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