Victory Lane

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holiday weekends.  First, it’s three days.  Who doesn’t love that? And of course the symbolic remembrance of our armed forces makes it special.  The official start of summer is a plus too, although I’m not looking forward to the possibility of another record-breaking heat wave. 

My favorite part of this particular weekend is the Indy 500. I became fascinated with racing after attending my first Indy 500 years ago.  It is a spectacle like no other event I’ve been to – including the Kentucky Derby, the Tournament of Roses and the NCAA national championship football game.  With attendance of around 400,000 the track becomes its own city.  The tradition, pomp and circumstance are worthy of royalty.  The military tributes bring tears.  So does the singing of certain songs by Jim Nabors and Florence Henderson, although I’m usually not crying because they’re good.

Hubby and I watched from home this year.  Still fun, but not the same as being there in person. For years the Indy 500 was part of my job, and we spent Memorial Day weekends at the race.  This year as I watched the race, the memories came flooding back: strategy and planning would start the year before the race, followed by campaign development, tactics, on-site and finally execution.  I had great co-workers and we all had so much fun that I would pinch myself to make sure that this was really my job and not a dream.  We used to laugh so much it was hard to get work done. And the stories I could tell!  Names would definitely have to be changed.  Yep, what happens at Indy stays at Indy.

The biggest lesson I learned from the Indy 500 is to never give up.  These dedicated athletes – the drivers, the crews and team owners – fight every week to make it to the winners circle.  With big bucks on the line, jobs can be lost when things don’t go the right way.  The drivers are strapped into their cars for several hours or more, depending on the number of incidents.  They are always thinking about how to improve their position on the course, and are in constant communication with their crew as to how the car is handling.  Even when they are in the final laps, the drivers and teams never quit trying to win.  After all, anything can happen in a race. Leads change in hundredths of a second. 

I was watching two specific drivers this year, both of whom were fighting for the win. Having worked with both of them in the past made it even more special to watch.  One is a long-time veteran and knows that he has to win at Indy soon if he’s going to at all.  The other is equally deserving, fighting for his family name.  No pressure there, huh? 

As with many races, it came down to the wire.  Both of my favorite drivers pushing and working and strategizing until the last second.  Unfortunately neither won.  But after the race, they were already talking about next time.  And both showed great poise in defeat.

I need to remember this when looking for new opportunities.  Never say never; never give up.  Don’t quit trying even when it seems impossible, even when the job is a long-shot at best.  You never know. At some point, the job will be right for me and I’ll walk into victory lane.

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