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chilling out

April 15, 2002 Monday

Go Karting

One of the many rules I live by is "Try everything at least once". When I learned that one of the people from my work is into go-karting, I asked him if he could take me along next time he rides. So he took me with him to Prokart Indoor Raceway at Etobicoke. I was thinking..."Since I know how to drive, the only difference this should make is to let go of the fear, floor the gas and the only time I'll lose is if I race against a driver with a faster car"....NOT!!!! True, the first set of laps, I was taking stock of my apprehension, trying to get the feel of the new machinery and simply acclimatizing to the new interface. I finished last. I expected that. And I was pleased that I managed the few laps with no injuries.

The second set of laps, there was no more fear. I thought, "Now, that I'm familiar with the machine and no longer fearful, it's hammer time!" I floored the gas all the way, which left me fishtailing all over the place. It was a good thing most of the drivers were experienced and managed to swerve past me without collision. I finished last again. I didn't expect this. I was left wondering why.

The third set of laps, I thought I'd let go of the gas before a turn and then floor it as soon as I came out of the curve. I remember Robert Duvall saying the same thing to Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder....and Cruise came out a winner in the end. Same result - last.

The fourth set of laps, all the newbies (although I was the only first timer) were grouped together. All 7 of us greenhorns. I was thinking again,"Now that I'm competing with people at my skill level, I'll have a better chance of passing somebody before I call it a night". Somehow, the earlier ambition of actually winning wasn't there anymore. We were supposed to do 10 laps. But with all newbies and no experienced driver around, pandemonium just broke loose. Karts were flying up in the air and collisions were happening at every turn. 2 laps into the 10 lap race, management stopped the race altogether. It would be cheaper to give us our money back than to spend more money into repairs. We all agreed but nobody demanded a refund. At that point, I haven't passed anybody but I believe 3 drivers already passed me. Yeah, so much for "it's only the absence of fear that will win the race".

In the spirit of Bob Marley, I now say,"He who karts and goes home in one piece lives to kart another day".

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