By Mike Garrison
A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.
Growing up in school there were always two types of kids; the independent type that was too cool to hang with their parents, and then there was the homebody type that you expected to live at home with mom and dad until their 75. I was the homebody type. I turned 30 years old this past month, and while I don’t live at home anymore, I am still very close with my parents. I share an office building with my dad, and every morning he picks me up and we ride to work together – same as we did in the 7th grade. I still call my mom daily and seeing that my wife and I only live 500ft away from my parents, we usually all see and visit each other daily too.
Some people like to distance themselves a little more than that from their parents as they grow up, and that’s okay too, but for me I couldn’t be more thankful to be so close with my family (not just my parents, but my little sister and grandma too).
Over the years I have seen a lot of people step away from racing (all forms of racing, not just R/C) when they either get married or more often when they have a child. I’ve even been told by one ex-racer, “The racetrack is the last environment I want my kid to grow up in.”
This morning on our way into work, my dad and I start reminiscing old memories from all the years of racing (both R/C cars and motocross) as a family. Whether it be my first win, the time my dad took out a World Champion, when our trailer rolled away with my mom and sister inside, how much tastier scrambled eggs are when made in an RV, the time I chased a turn marshall with an 1/8-scale buggy, and the list goes on and on.
(Left - My amazing mom holding me up on my first ride back on a dirt bike after being paralyzed. Right - My dad hiding his trophy behind me after I MAY have taken him out for the win.)
The racing in our family all started in the 1970’s with my dad racing motocross, and my mom by his side cheering him on. That transitioned into R/C cars when I was born, back to motocross when I turned 5 years old, and then returned to R/C when I got hurt at 18. Now, my wife and I share a love for racing, traveling together week after week announcing, organizing events, and/or racing ourselves.
Sure, there are some unfavorable individuals, language, and behavior in the world of competitive racing from time to time, but then again nothing worse than you are likely to experience at least once in the drunken stands of almost any Sunday afternoon football game.
With the thought of kids in our future, I’ve been asked more than a few times if I was going to allow my kids to race motocross and/or R/C cars – despite the fact I was paralyzed racing bikes and spend way too much time and money racing R/C cars?
(A weekend to remember as my wife and I were presented the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Race Management Team to announce the 2016 ROAR 1/10-scale Off-Road Nationals)
For some people it seems like a waste to spend all the time and money driving across the country week after week racing, staying in shady hotel rooms, buying non-stop bikes/cars, parts, fuel, batteries, engines, spending 16-hour days at the track, and all for a chance at a plastic trophy to hang on the wall – IF you finish well enough. For me, it has been the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me.
(Like father, like son...even the most boring times at the track we share as a family.)
The world of racing has not only kept me out of trouble (for the most part) and off the streets, but it has created a lifetime of unforgettable memories, opened doors and career opportunities I would have never imagined without it, and has provided a family bond of massive proportions that whether you are mom, dad, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, grandma, or grandpa – everyone can be involved.
(Even my little sister enjoyed our time at the track growing up, and was quite a rider on the motocross track and a stock buggy winner on the R/C track.)
I will fully support my future kids in whatever they may choose to do and enjoy, but as someone who has lived a life of pure racing joy – it won’t hurt my feelings if I’m “calling in sick” on Friday’s to load up the family van and get Junior to the races on time.