To say that we are living in some turbulent times is not exactly breaking news to anyone. Political tension, international tension, racial tension, religious tension, and generational tension are all a part of the daily narrative we are bombarded with on television news broadcasts, social media, internet websites, and even newspapers. With all of that, 2019 has certainly been a year filled with uncertainty, anxiety and even anger.
On a personal note, add to all of those issues mentioned above that I began the year by burying my father, who passed away last New Year’s Eve.
Of course, all of us have issues we face on a daily basis that, in our lives, are bigger and more personal than those things mentioned in the opening paragraph. The well-being of our families, financial worries, problems at our jobs as well as our daily victories as we celebrate the weddings, birthdays, and successes of those we love are the things that truly matter and make real differences in our lives.
With so much going on, we all need a refuge. There has to be a hobby, a passion, an aside that provides a place to get away from the “real world” from time to time.
For this writer, that refuge is racing.
Whether it’s covering a race in person, watching on television, following along on social media, or talking about it with another enthusiast, this sport offers a much welcomed break from reality that is all too often excessively real. What to some may seem like a noisy and chaotic activity has grown to become a place of peace and serenity for me. Whether it’s in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, at a dusty dirt track or a gritty asphalt speedway, that’s the place for me.
Like many others, I spend a good bit of my daily time on social media. However, that can be a dangerous place to hang out with all the venom injected into those forums as people seek to push political agendas or to disparage the accomplishments of others. But with my primary focus on racing, I have been fairly successful at avoiding the pitfalls of anger and argument while enjoying many of my interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as those interactions typically revolve around my favorite sport.
Apart from the day-to-day triumphs and tribulations that involve my relationship with God, my family, or my job, racing is the focus of many of my thoughts. While I do pay attention to political issues, international happenings, and even other sports, racing helps me maintain perspective and not get overwhelmed with things that are outside of my control.
2019 has been a year in which those things outside the control of most of us have taken on lives of their own and 2020 promises much more of the same. We all may very well need those places of refuge more than ever before. I have found my refuge and I hope you have found yours as well.
No, we can’t just completely ignore the world around us. But we don’t have to be consumed by it either. Racing is what helps me avoid being consumed. And for that, I say, thank you racing.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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