What is true happiness? Do you know? Do I know? Does anyone know??
“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give - pleasure, possessions, power - but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”
I read that quote over and over, only becoming more confused with the meaning of true happiness. Is anyone truly happy? I guess I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do believe is that true happiness to one person is completely different to another person. But really I don’t know what that means.
Baseball and racing have brought me what I would consider to be true happiness. But family is also the rock of true happiness in my life. With racing and baseball you could feel many ups and downs, and I believe that when you win or succeeded it feels that much better.
One of the darkest days of my life took place on Friday, August 26, 2016. I thought my life was over, I had given up. I had nothing left. Nothing worth living for. The following day I was supposed to be racing at Elko Speedway. I was done. Didn’t want to go and didn’t want to be there. Told my brother and Mom that I wasn’t going to race. My brother sat me down and said we are going racing and we are going to have fun.
We went out and I recall practice not going very well, car just wasn’t right. My brother made a few minor adjustments for the heat race, we drew pretty poorly and were going to be starting dead last... nothing could go my way. Everything was horrible. Starting 11th in a heat race and needing to finish 5th to even make inversion seemed like a stretch... especially with only 8 laps to do.
Some how on the last lap we got by two cars.. finishing 5th. That put us on the outside pole for the feature race. Car still wasn’t right and I still didn’t want to be at Elko that night. Didn’t care about damn thing and was still extremely depressed. My brother made a few more adjustments to the car and told me it was perfect. I couldn’t help but laugh with all the struggles we had over the last month racing. My girlfriend who was back at college at the time sent me a couple messages to try motivate me and get me going a little bit. I missed her so much at that time, all I wanted was for her to be home and to be with me. I told her I was going to go out and try win the feature race for her.
We took the green flag, lap one I took the lead and as the laps ticked off my lead continued to grow. The car was a rocket, my brother had it dialed in. I was beyond motivated inside that car, I was going to win this race and the first person I was going to call was my girlfriend. I looked up in my mirror with about 5 laps to go and saw my great uncle was running in 2nd. He was about a straight away behind me at the time. Couple laps went by and I looked up in my mirror and saw the guy who ended up winning the championship that year. Still a ways back from catching, I knew with only 2 laps to go he wasn’t going to catch me.
I took the white flag (one to go) and as I came out of turn two the caution lights came. No way... you’ve got to be kidding me, how could this happen?? I had led every lap and was half a lap away from getting the win... only to have it ripped out from underneath me. Fitting that this would be how I’d lose this race. It was a green, white, checkered... NASCAR Overtime. I tried to jump the start and I spun my tires... the 2nd place guy got to my outside going into turn one. I thought it was over. I pushed up a little coming out of turn two (never made contact) and it was enough to cause him to get a little lose. We came to the white flag and I was clear by about half a car length. We went into one and he got outside of me again, I got a little sideways off two but so did he. It was a drag race down the back straightaway. As we came out of turn 4 coming to the checkered flag I got all kinds of outta shape... yep... I won that son of a bitch.
I had no reaction. Nothing. I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t happy, I was nothing. All I wanted was for my girlfriend to be there and she wasn’t.
Writing this right now has brought tears to my eyes.
As I came around to pull up to the flag stand and do my interview with the track announcer I saw my mom, grandma, sister standing up against the fence by the flag stand. I still wished my girlfriend was there... it was the only thing on my mind. I didn’t see my brother but I knew he was standing there. I always looked for him.
During the on track interview I was kind of speechless, didn’t have much to say and was still pretty down. I had announced that morning that 2016 would be my last year racing (maybe...). I needed a break from it, and 2017 was my break. The announcer questioned me on if my win had changed my mind, I said we will have to just wait and see what the future brings. As I pulled off the track into victory lane which is located on the main grandstand concourse I finally saw my brother. Tears running down his face.
He knew the struggles I had been going through the last few weeks. Once I was parked he leaned in my window net as he was crying and gave me a hug. Everything was forgotten about at that moment. The only thing that matter was my brother and that moment we were in. I started sobbing as he held on to me. I can tell you that, that moment was one of the most special moments in my life. He has helped me through every struggle and no matter what our differences are he is always there. I couldn’t help but continue to cry... I couldn’t find it in me to even get out of the car.
I tried to regain my composure the best I could.. I finally got out and did my normal victory lane celebration (honoring Joey Logano). I jumped down from the door of my car and was greeted by many friends and family. I was still a wreck emotionally. Lot of people were crying (happy tears and sad tears). But we had done it. We had over come everything.
I just wish my girlfriend would have been there. I can only imagine how special that moment would have been. Once we got through tech and the win was made official I called her. I could feel the happiness in her voice and at that moment everything went away. I was happy. I felt perfect. I felt amazing. I had made it through weeks of darkness... talking to her and hearing her voice made everything better. It honestly made everything go away. I felt true happiness at that moment. I couldn’t believe we did it, was still in shock. I told her I did it. I did it for her, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Do I get the trophy then?” Yes.
The point of this blog post was to show that no matter how dark things get, no matter how down you are, things will get better. And you will find that checkered flag that makes everything go away, that makes everything better. And at that moment you will be truly happy.
See you soon,