Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Big One

When NASCAR races at Daytona there's something referred to as, "the big one" which the almost inevitable crash involving a dozen cars or more. Several days ago I went indoor karting with the race staff I work with all year and the last thing we were expecting was to have a big one of our own.

It had been a pleasant day so far. I got some Christmas shopping done and even came across a 1953 $2 bill (it wasn't as rare as I thought) when given change. We met at the track around three and signed up to do two races. On a lot of minds was the last time I went indoor karting with the staff inSan Bernadino.

The first race went off without a hitch was actually an amazing time. Several of the other drivers on track have or still race in real life and the competition made me miss the days that I raced. I had the largest of large grins at the end.

The 2nd race started off even more thrilling as the lead group I was I were nose to tail lap after lap. As competitive as I am this was pure bliss. When I raced I wasn't a speed freak; rather what I lived for was the closeness of battle and that's exactly what we were having.

There wasn't much change in position and with two minutes to go in the session the big one got triggered. I was third in line when the leader went to the inside of a kart we were lapping. That kart didn't know that he was being passed and contact was made which sent the lead lap kart sideways and towards the inside. I followed the kart in front of me to the outside as it looked like the two karts would stop up against the inside wall. The kart in front of me cleared the incident but by the time I got to the corner the hole closed and the spinning kart clipped me in the side which had a bizarre consequence as I took to the air.

From my seat it was the oddest of views as I knew I was in the air and I knew the wall was coming up fast. The brakes, obviously, were useless as I was in the air. I slammed the wall at a severe angle and at the same time a kart that was right behind me drove under my kart which sent me back into the air and finally I stopped, facing the right direction, up against the wall.

The wind was knocked out of me but all concern was to the person whom had made contact with the underside of my kart. My aches were irrelevant compared to him. The staff had has drive back to the pits and the medics were called.

A day after my aches were getting worse and worse so I went to an urgent care place where they took X-rays. I've been to doctors many times of precautionary and am used to hearing "X-rays show nothing." This was being repeated until the doctor got to the X-ray of my tailbone then he told me I have a fracture of the tailbone. I knew the wreck I had was the hardest impact I've ever had but I couldn't believe  it as first. Then I moved and felt the pain once more and quickly believed the X-ray.

The doctor then gave me strict directions, "Aaron, there's not much you can do to help it heal, just don't have any more crashes in the near future."

As bad as it was for us it easily could've been worse. Had I been a bit higher the driver that hit me may have had worse injuries than the massive hand injury he suffered. Had I not gone up perfectly straight without any roll and had instead had some roll I could've gone into the wall with my body first. So many things could've happened that could've made the big one a crash that ended much, much worse.

Since the crash all things seem more precious. However, the feeling I had when I was flying towards the wall has remained. Indoor karts don't normally fly and when doing it one isn't expecting a crash of this magnitude. A spin? A sideswipe of the wall? Sure, but a wreck like this isn't typical. Despite what happened I feel lucky that the injuries I got were just this. While this holiday season is going to be a sore one for myself, at least what occurred wasn't worse.

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