Friday, October 11, 2013

Mistakes are the portal to lessons: Five Questions for Charlotte

Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Everybody makes mistakes, and that’s due to the fact to no one is perfect. We are flawed individuals, crafted with rough, aged hands that leave scars and wear. Though each specific flaw serves a greater purpose, we sometimes forget that and trip over ourselves.

As glaring as that misstep may seem, it’s only a wrinkle in the blanket you’re weaving.

I’ve made many mistakes in my 17 years: fighting battles that should’ve been forgotten, maintained vile relationships, given myself the short end of the stick. However, the grandest error was realized after it was too late.

When my grandmother died, I was inconsolable. A balloon swelled and took over my chest, a breathless feeling that lasted for weeks. I was a puppet with cut strings, a navigator without a map. I was lost.

The craziest thing about this pain was that it mixed with regret. I believe this is called “denial.” You begin to think of all the awful things you did to the deceased, and it’s cause to hate everything you’ve ever done. Those days after her passing, I thought about all the times I missed out on connecting. We had a relationship, yes, but I always wanted one that was stronger. I wanted to hear her stories, her laugh, her own set of regrets. I never had that chance.

I never had that chance, but I believe someone will. Maybe even someone reading this. From all of this, we realize mistakes are the portal to lessons, helping us learn, laugh, and cry.

So let this be a lesson for you: life’s too short to rack up regrets. Be bold, be brilliant, and be beautiful while you still can. I know that’s something my grandmother would’ve told me.

Right now, I’m focused on Charlotte Motor Speedway as we mark the halfway point in The Chase. Let’s talk about Travis Kvapil, Kyle Busch, and a thing called “a Chase mulligan.” It’s all here in this new write-up for Five Questions.

Should BK Racing and/or NASCAR have done something about Travis Kvapil? Wednesday afternoon brought news that Kvapil was arrested Tuesday night on charges related to domestic violence and false imprisonment. NASCAR fans took to Twitter, expressing their shock. Well, Thursday came with more information: Kvapil would be in the BK Racing car Saturday night. Again, Twitter lit up, this time with mixed comments. The question is, should something be done to prevent Kvapil from racing this weekend? The answer is no, and the reason lies in BK Racing’s official statement, in which they said, “We do not condone the actions Travis has been accused of, however we feel we need to let the system run its course. Therefore, we have elected to keep Travis in the car this weekend.” Our country believes that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and both the sanctioning body and his team have decided to follow that concept. With an issue as touchy as domestic abuse, many jump to pointing fingers and making judgment without considering the entire story. I ask you, the amazing readers, to please give Kvapil the benefit of the doubt; we don’t know all three sides to the event - his wife’s, his, or the truth.

How does Kyle Busch rebound from Kansas woes? Busch needed a lot to happen last weekend, and finishing with a DNF was not one of them. That finish shoved him down to fifth in points, suddenly lagging behind in the championship bout. Like a guy who partied a bit too much the night before, this driver needs a remedy that works fast. Charlotte may be it; he does very well there. However, so do the top four in points. If he wants to make any significant ground, he’ll have to win it. That’s something he’s definitely capable of doing.

Part two: are the fans too harsh on Jimmie Johnson? After the column I wrote last Friday, I was eager to hear from you readers. I got a few responses, yet one stood out. A dedicated Johnson fan agreed with me, saying that he is “the most underappreciated champion” of our time. As I said, I agree with this statement. Maybe it’s a mistake on the fans’ part for being so superficial in a way; they care too much about his showmanship (or lack there of) and not about what he’s actually doing. If it isn’t flashy, the paying customer loses interest and walks away. That’s a practice that needs to end.

What qualifies as “too soon” when talking about pushing young drives into the Sprint Cup Series? With Kyle Larson making his debut in NASCAR’s top-tier series, this topic seems fitting. No, I’m not going to say Larson isn’t ready; he’s going to race no matter what I think. But, it’s concerning to think about the bountiful young talent that’s coming up. When is it too soon to shove them into the bull pen? I think a youngster is ready when they show that they can be competitive on either the NCWTS or the NNS level. When they can defeat their peers with flying colors, then they’re ready to make a move. If one is thrust into competition too early, that puts a significant bump in their career. No driver should be put into the Sprint Cup series with a huge lack of experience in stock cars.

Does a Chase mulligan exist? If you haven’t noticed, today’s theme is mistakes, and they even happen in the Chase. With Talladega Superspeedway coming up, many drivers are worried about a possible DNF bruising their stats. Kyle Busch is already feeling that pain after Kansas. The thing is, there is no such thing as a mulligan in this Chase. The competition is tight and heating up, and points deficits are difficult to close. This is the Chase, where only the best of the best are awarded. DNFs aren’t the kiss of death. It’s possible to come back from them. But the driver can’t let it get to him, or it’s downhill from there.

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