Rev-Up: ThankfulThursday, November 22, 2007 | 8:00 AM
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up.
Sometimes all it takes is a little reality to help you remember how thankful you should be. Yesterday afternoon, my cell phone lit up and displayed a number from Oklahoma. With the knowledge that every person I’ve met from Oklahoma is one of my friends I decided to answer it. The voice on the other side was one that I remembered from a special time in my life and immediately brought back some incredible memories. It was Trey “Big Daddy” Owens, a former pro from the Sooner State that I raced, traveled, and partied with for several years before we both hung it up.
When you travel the country with someone you really learn a lot about them. Trey is six years older than me so he kind of helped me through some of the good and bad things you learn when you are 19 years old. We had our arguments and what not, but we were pals until we went our separate ways. A few years ago I learned that he had a bad accident on his Harley that left him in a coma that he almost didn’t come out of. I heard he made an amazing but, not quite 100 percent recovery.
So I went outside for a walk around the building to talk to my old friend, Trey. He first asked how I was, which I really respect, most of the year my old friends have been calling me asking how the #07 was doing, which is fine, but you know… Anyways, I told him I was actually doing great and enjoying what has truly been an astonishing year. After rehashing some old memories and fun times he told me, “It sure is good to talk to you. I’ve been watching your brother all year and every time I’d just smile and think about you and all the stupid shit we used to do.” Then he laughed long and loud, exactly like he used to. He went on to tell me about his accident and how he was just “thankful to still be here.”
Thankful to be here. You’re damn right, Trey.
It really made me stop and think about how lucky we are to be here. All of us. I never imagined that I would get to experience a year such as the one I have this year. I am so thankful for working for a friend and boss like DC, who took me to Arlington National Cemetery and the site of The Battle of Antietam and took the time to point out and explain the Changing of the Guard next to the Cherry Blossoms and tell me about why the cemetery at Antietam had thousands grave stones all with the same date chiseled on them. Those aren’t fun or pretty places to visit. But they are ones that I think every single American should see. Especially teenagers. We all need to be reminded how lucky we are and how thankful we should be.
This is a small list of what I’m thankful for:
- I’m so thankful to have incredible friends that praise me when I make them laugh and forgive me when I upset or hurt them.
- I’m thankful for all the times I took my girl to the top of the hill and watched the sunset this year.
- I’m thankful that we fans were all so fortunate to enjoy such an amazing supercross season.
- I’m thankful that all of the kids at Loretta Lynn’s that raced the 2007 Air Nautiques AMA Amateur National Championships drove home healthy enough to try again in 2008.
- I’m thankful that my Pops rode his bike up to see where I work and live and we got to ride together.
- I’m thankful to see so many of my close friends produce and enjoy healthy offspring.
- I’m thankful that the racing gods gave us the 2007 MXoN and I was able to attend.
- I’m thankful that I was able to read more books and learn more this year than I ever have before.
- I’m thankful for guys like Bryan Stealey and Jeff Kocan who tutor me with my writing.
- I’m thankful the Jayhawks have a chance to win the national title – the football national title.
- I’m thankful I have a chance to write to you fine folks every Thursday and for every nice letter you readers sent me.
Then, of course, I am thankful for the year Clint was able to have. The best part about it is that it inspired so many people that otherwise wouldn’t even watch the sport to stand up in their living rooms and scream and stomp their feet for him to go faster. All of our old moto friends watched every weekend and would blow my cell phone up when he had a chance at a green, white, checkered, or when his jet black attack #07 boldly held the lead.
I’m thankful my whole family was there to watch him qualify for The Chase. I’m thankful my Mom got to hug him in victory lane. There are a lot of things that his year helped make great.
But one of the cool things I am truly thankful for is that it will allow Trey and I the opportunity to go to Chicagoland Speedway next season to watch the race and party like we did in 1999. And if you’re reading this Trey, I meant it yesterday when I said to mark the date on the calendar. We’ll get garage passes that will get you close enough to blow your hair back. Not because of your accident, because of what you did for me back in the day. I’m thankful for those years we had.
Before I go I want to urge all of you who read this to take a step backwards and really, really think about all of the amazing things you did this year. Go through the months and the changing seasons and spend a couple minutes thinking about what you are thankful for. Being involved in motocross should be pretty high on that list. Motocross has given my family and I everything we ever wished for, and more. I’m damn sure thankful for that.
Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving, and see you next week.
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.