Blogger Scog is back
Blogger Scog is back
By: Issac Scoggin
Photo by: James Lissimore
I believe we can all agree that life is a complicated mess of expectations, obligations, and societal demands. Each individual requires a specific balance of stress and fun, good times and bad, success and failure, to maintain a healthy life. Without the stressfulness of bad times and the personal failures we all endure we would not appreciate the good times and success we garner through hard work and perseverance. There is no set path for navigating to a fulfilling and meaningful existence on this rotating mass, but we all attempt to find “it”. There truly are endless opportunities and routes to follow on our way to our own personal happiness; however, it rarely occurs to us to forge our own path. That is because we see the end result of hard work and we see someone who has what we want, but we just skimmed over the journey. That is to say, we know where we want to be, just not how to get there. Just as a kid looks at a grown up, just as a fan looks at a pro, and just as I look at Hugh Hefner. The truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle of our journey we get lost, and life happens. Many fans ride themselves, and most riders have dared to dream of a salary, exotic bike, and the feeling of being #1. The beauty of Motocross is that no matter where you got lost on your journey, no matter where you are now, if you ride, then you can feel a satisfaction that escapes most professionals. The self-satisfaction of enjoying every second on a track, every air filter change, bike maintenance evening before a ride, every weeklong anticipation of the upcoming weekends ride, and every subtle personal milestone that accompany days in the dirt. This is a gift long forgotten by many, and so I ask that we all try to remember, pros and fans alike: as in moto, so in life.
Perspectives and A Purposed Switch
As I said before, our attempts often involve “borrowing” from those who have succeeded in their own endeavors. For those of us who participate in motocross and work regular jobs, our attempts are all ripped from the pages of a magazine, a moto magazine to be more precise. We are not weak or easily influenced; we are merely using our resources to chase a dream that will certainly never be obtained. We are many, we are the driving force for the moto economy, and we should not be looked on with pity, but with envy. Even from those whom we look up to as superstars. You know, the riders such as Dungey, Villopoto, Stewart, Reed, Barcia, Canard; the list goes on and on. These riders teach us and entertain us with their styles and personalities, but there are simple, yet hard to discover, lessons displaced by money, fame and above all else, the drive to be #1.
Essentially, what I am saying is that both sides of the spectrum have much to gain from “borrowing” the perspective of one another. For the less talented masses, the idea of garnering a factory ride, training for the sole purpose of being the best and making money by shredding dirt is just that, an idea. Although, realistically we understand that it takes more dedication than we can give, and more talent for that matter, we still hold the hope that a good ride is a twist of the throttle away. The beauty of it is that we are never going to obtain that ride or be the best, but it doesn’t really matter because we ride for a feeling. For the professional motocross athlete the idea of chasing a feeling rather than a number in a column can seem far away, and honestly, abstract.
A feeling is an emotional response to, in this case, fulfilling or surpassing one’s own perception of fast. Where does a feeling fit into a career at the top of motocross? After all, they are taught like you and me, to be professional and well behaved, so as to ensure the happiness of those who write their checks. How abstract and odd must it feel to attempt to revert back to where they once came? As a child we all rode for a feeling, and that is where the love for this sport roots itself in us, allowing it to become an addiction. So you can see why the notion is abstract to the professional motocrossers of today. Unearthing the child in all of us is romantic in theory, but unless it is “bring your child to work day”, it just simply won’t fly. We know they have pressure to perform placed firmly on their shoulders and families to support, as they get older. The age-old adage, “you have to spend money to make money” applies, and the investment in resources and land are huge on the part of the top athletes. We are also aware that the industry is very cut throat in race theory, yet forgiving for the right amount of talent anyway. Only being as good as your last race is a burden that motivates the riders to push hard and that can lead to mistakes or worse, injury. Nearly every step they take is to ensure the growth of their career and every step forward involves a sacrifice on their behalf. Undoubtedly, the perspective of the local motocross fanatics can still be relevant and helpful to the motocross giants of today. Because under every abstraction lies a simple truth, and that truth may be easily seen from the outside rather than from within.
As with all things in life we tend to take much for granted and lose sight of a certain perspective. Without that perspective we are lost in our own lives struggling to be what we are not. In other words, we develop tunnel vision. Seeing with only one scope, and disregarding all others. It is a natural occurrence that we all succumb to. In all cases it dates back to one simple idea, and our simple idea is that riding a motorcycle is fun. This idea is fueled by the addiction of going as fast as you can personally handle; this concept runs through every local motocrosser’s veins the world over. It is a universal truth that is often lost, even at the pointed end of the amateur fields, and certainly at the pro level. This idea is possible only because the sport of motocross gives to its participants like no other sport. It gives us all our own personal view of fast! From beginner to expert and every classification in between, runs a feeling that is constant. To feel like you have ridden at your limit (for some beyond) and pushed yourself to a new speed that is at the same moment exhilarating and fulfilling, is the captivating allure for all motocrossers. When you are twisting the throttle to where you believe it is wide open, and whipping the bike to where you think it is flat, a perception unique to you but obtained by all participants is experienced. No matter the reality of your speed or the coolness of your style, you feel like a pro.
So let’s turn the tables for a moment and regulate the gifted to the back row and allow us fans to collect our precious minutes of fame, and yes, I mean on the track. After all, we are all racing around one track or another. In our own individual races we forget what a blessing it is to have a hobby that can make us feel like a hero, or a loser. Either way, it works to push us towards the ever-elusive dream of punishing the competition and gaining the respect and admiration of our local counterparts. The feeling of winning breaks through barriers of ability and becomes an addiction to all those whose paths cross it. The counter point to this is that the true feeling of satisfaction in one’s self actually does not originate from a checkered flag, but rather from finding the limits and pushing through them. The truth is we lose much more often than we win, but a last to fourth ride on a rough track can be more rewarding than a wire to wire win. One can only feel a sense of complete satisfaction from riding up to one’s own potential. No number on a bike or earned in a race is ever going to fill the void left from an unfulfilled self-expectation.
The Feeling vs. the Numbers
This truth, if realized by all pro riders, could ruin racing for spectators and the sport as a whole. Luckily for us, short memories dominate the sports top talents. And the mantra “here today and gone tomorrow” ensures the top talents of today and the future keep pushing to obtain and maintain a top spot in our sport. It also seems that once in a while one of the greats will come to rediscover the lost perspective and a crossroads of sorts presents itself: going left means becoming a fan of the sport and losing one’s place at the top (losing one’s edge), going right means a new appreciation for one’s talents. Turing left is the path most traveled, but sometimes, sometimes, a rider will turn right, and the racer and fans reap all the benefits. Obviously, a veteran of the sport plays this role, and none have been as successful at this as the man from Baton Rouge, Kevin Windham. From prospect to star, to underachieving, to leaving the sport, to finding it again, winning from time to time, and thru it all Windham has become the fan favorite. To every rule there is an exception, I suppose, and I for one am glad there is. Had Windham turned left the sport would have lost a true champion, because his role in the fans mind slightly out weights that of a number 1 plate holder. Red plates and single digits come and go, but personality and authenticity reign supreme.
In reality, what many racers forget is not actually forgotten at all, just mired underneath an array of contracts and expectations. Maybe a small sample of the local racers exploits is the remedy that could bring the perspective of passion and pure joy to the forefront of the pro. Maybe, just maybe, the simple truths of life and love will reemerge and replace the pains of day in and day out riding; then again, maybe not. Either way, we must all remember just how lucky we are to have a sport that gives to its participants. Danger is an association with motocross, but it’s an association that is mostly muted by the overwhelming feeling of self-satisfaction. To “borrow” the perspective of the pro all one must do is ride hard and enjoy the rush of feeling stylish and gnarly. For a pro, it is as simple as any complexity can be; after all, the more involved you are in something the more convoluted it becomes. Trying to ride and race for a feeling is an abstractly beautiful thought, but not a practical one for a career. When it does work, and a rider succumbs to the idea of motocross as fun, and the rider comes to the realization that this sport is unique to fans and pros alike, that is when we all benefit. That is when personality overcomes what is taught to the riders. What is “the norm” for other athletes of the sport become stale and boring when compared to the honesty and sincerity of a man no longer lost. So next time you ride try and remember that being a fan in this sport is better than being a fan of any other, because it delivers a feeling of being a pro without actually dedicating ourselves to it. The next time a pro rides, try and remember the truth of why it all began. Try to comb through the monotonies of everyday training to see a number can never replace a feeling of accomplishment. As a fan though, I ask you to keep trying for a number 1.
As In Moto, So In Life
Unfortunately, the reality of this perspective is a fleeting mindset that does not soak into our conscience and dwell there very long. The irony of it all is that as a world we have lost perspective and overall we may never gain it back. Most of us are chasing a number with extra zeros as we speak, and that should never take precedence over family and passion, but for most, that is reality. Happiness is consumed by numbers or at least someone a long time ago made it so; so we chase the numbers round and round longing for security and that feeling of self-worth. Numbers cannot provide it. Only a passion as true as our strongest beliefs can plug our own sinking vessels. Our own happiness is easily found, yet seemingly impossible to obtain. It would benefit us all to utilize the truths we have all discovered through riding and apply it to our individual lives. Stop chasing the numbers and start to chase the feeling. And I have a feeling…I need more money