Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beyond the Byline: Getting to Know Amanda Ebersole

You see their names in the byline of our stories. You may follow them them on Twitter and Facebook, but who are the ladies of Skirts and Scuffs? In this series, our site creator Katy Lindamood goes behind the articles and dives into the lives of some of our most popular contributors.

Today we go beyond the byline with Amanda Ebersole. A contributor with Skirts and Scuffs since early 2010, Amanda is the brains behind In the Rearview Mirror, a column that looks at the pioneers of the sport. Additionally Amanda acts as an associate editor for the site.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask Amanda about her life and love of the sport. I invite you to sit back and get to know one of the most important members of the Skirts and Scuffs family.


Katy Lindamood (KL): Tell our readers a little about your background. Where you're from, what you're involved in other than NASCAR.
Amanda Ebersole (AE): I hail from small town, USA: Lebanon, PA. Never heard of it? Yeap, not surprised. The only thing big around here is bologna. That’s right, bologna. Our town drops a giant 150+ pound bologna on New Year's Eve. Now if you are an ARCA fan, you know that Lebanon is the hometown of Bobby Gerhart.

As for me personally, well, standard life story and is there life other than NASCAR? I do enjoy cooking and trying new things in the kitchen. I’m trying to get the courage to eat fish, but it’s not going too well. I want to travel, that is my hope and dream ... if only my money tree would finally grow.


KL: Amanda, you are an extremely positive person and it comes out not only in your writing, but in your interactions with others. I know it's not always easy to be positive given the circumstances you deal with on a day-to-day basis, but somehow you manage. Would you be willing to share some of your back-story with our readers and the challenges you face?
AE: Thanks, being positive is very important to me. After all the challenges I have faced, I have learned life is too short to take for granted.

As for my circumstances, in middle school I suffered a severe ankle injury that developed into a neurological disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It’s a very complicated neurological disorder, and back in 1995 when I got it, doctors still did not have much information on it. I had severe burning pain and explained it as though someone was lighting me on fire from the inside out. Dealing with that as a teenager was hard.  We sought out the best doctors. In doing so, I took a big risk and went with an experimental medication that seemed a cure-all.

Well, long story short, six months into the treatment I woke up paralyzed. It was terrifying!! Doctors thought I had a stroke. Turns out after four months in the hospital, the medication has this as a potential side effect (I was unaware ... I blame it on my age, at the time I was 21, but now I look back and know that it was not me but the doctor who should have known better). While in the hospital they determined I would never walk. I cannot walk unassisted, but I have made leaps and bounds of improvements from that day of waking up totally paralyzed.


Amanda is an animal lover. Her dog Duncan gets comfortable in the chair.
KL: Some of our contributors have been NASCAR fans for as long as they can remember, but for you it wasn't always this way, right? When did your love of NASCAR begin and what was your AHA! Moment? (the moment you felt like this was your sport?)
AE: I think it was 2007, if I am correct. My dad was a fan and would catch a race or two when he was home from work. I would hear him ohhh and ahhh at the excitement of the racing action, always feeling a bit left out not knowing what was going on. I started to flip channels to the race as he watched, to have something to talk about. Now we laugh because my father is an over the road trucker driver and he calls me for all the NASCAR info and every time he passes one of the haulers on the road! (He drives down south mostly so my phone rings frequently some weeks.)

I don't know if I have a true AHA! moment, I watched "Fast Cars and Superstars" in 2007 because I was a WWE fan of John Cena and he was learning to drive from Carl Edwards. I think that moment was a big one. Now NASCAR is my life. (Sorry, John Cena.) Carl Edwards became my driver and that was the beginning of my NASCAR fandom.


KL: Behind each woman who calls Skirts and Scuffs home is a NASCAR fan. For the fan sitting at home races can be an emotional roller coaster. Is there any event in particular that's been emotional for you?
AE: Easiest question so far!! Talladega April 26, 2009! Seeing Carl Edwards spin, flip, then land! That was the time that I remember being hysterical. I screamed ... my parents came running, I was crying and saying "OMG he better be ok" (geesh getting emotional writing this) and when he got out of the car and ran across the line I don’t know if I was happy or not. I just remember being so upset that night that my dad gave me my birthday gift a week early. He had gotten me a Carl Edwards diecast that he found near a truck stop. That was my first diecast and I was so happy. My dad has never gotten me a gift like that and it meant a lot to me.


KL: Other than editing for Skirts and Scuffs, you write a weekly column on the history of the sport. What led to your decision to write In the Rearview Mirror and what have you learned the most about in writing the series?
AE: I have to say, my history teacher would be so proud. I was always a good student of history and I personally think it is something we need to value and respect. Would we have Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and so on without the greats of yesteryear such as Red Byron, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, Lee Petty? There was no big AHA moment as to why I wanted to do In the Rearview Mirror, besides the simple word RESPECT! That says it all.

Last summer Amanda built this and says that grilling is one of her favorite ways to cook.
KL: There are thousands of NASCAR websites out there you could have decided to become a part of, though we are extremely happy you chose us. Why Skirts and Scuffs?
AE: I am happy you had me! I have no formal writing experience, just the experience of a passionate fan who (would) rather use her voice as an uplifting experience. My biggest pet peeve is all the negativity surrounding our beloved sport. Come on folks, rally around the sport we all love ... what would you do if NASCAR locked out like football?

Why Skirts and Scuffs? Because women working together is a genius idea!! (Way to go boss) I’ve see women reporters, journalists, but no website like ours. We have a huge list of contributors, all with unique perspectives. That’s what makes Skirts and Scuffs a cutting edge website.


KL: You love spending time in the kitchen. What's your most successful recipe and what's one thing you would never make again? Is there a recipe you want to try but haven't quite gathered the courage yet?
AE: Ouch, tough one. Can I phone my family for help? My best recipe is my cheesecake, it’s a version of Junior's Cheesecake from NYC, the creamiest cheesecake I have ever had. I love to grill though, I could eat chicken on the grill seven nights a week. 

Fish ... no courage to eat it!! I have cooked broiled fish for my dad, but that’s it. I also want to try homemade bread and pizza dough with yeast, but the whole process of let it proof, rise, blah blah ... I am not that patient.

Amanda's birthday cake that her mom surprised her with last year. 
KL: Describe yourself in one sentence.
AE: Rolls with the punches of life. (Wheelchair humor, sorry)

Thank you Amanda for sharing some of the most personal moments of your life with me and our readers. Your positive attitude in the face of adversity is a breath of fresh air.

Learn more about Amanda by following her on Twitter.

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