Saturday, December 11, 2004


I watched the ESPN movie "3", the biography of Dale Earnhardt. Let's get the obligatory made for TV movie stuff out of the way; Cheesy - yes, bad acting - yes, really bad fake mustache - yes, all that and then some. Still, it was worth the two hours.

The reason it was worth it is that it tells a story that more people need to hear. It tells a story those of us "in the know" (or those of us ignorant enough to have known who Dale Earnhardt and what NASCAR was before he died) have known for years. Dale was an american success story. A high school dropout, coming from a less than humble beginnings who drove to the pinnacle of his profession.

You know when you sit around and think who you would like your children to grow up to be? Dale Earnhardt for me. Would I have them make the mistakes he made? Drop out of highschool, ruin 2 marriages? Of course not. But I want them to have his determination and innate sense of self worth. Dale always believed in himself, not in a way that made him arrogant, but in way that allowed him to accept his greatness without questioning it.

This is a lesson that is often unlearned by the youths of today. Nelson Mandela once said "Our biggest fear is not that we are inadaquate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure". Too many people fail to realize their true potential because our politically correct society has discouraged them from excelling so as not to upset the sensibilities of those less gifted.

Earnhardt can teach us many life lessons, but the ability to overcome your present circumstances is the greatest. An illustration of this can be found in Dale's approach to restrictor plate racing. Earnhardt hated restrictor plate races. I can't count the number of times I heard Dale say "This ain't racing" when interviewed after such a race. Yet Dale Earnhardt dominated RP races; he was to restrictor plates what Wayne Gretzky was to hockey. This sums up Dale Earnhardt for me. Give me lemons and I am gonna make lemonade.

I am glad I happend in front of the television when "3" was starting. I haven't reflected on Dale for awhile and it is nice to have his memory recalled. The world needs more Dale Earnhardts.

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