A day I will not easily forget.
|I've lived in NASCAR country (Florida) a long time. When I was a kid back in the 1960's and 1970's, NASCAR was more of a regional event than a national sport. I never really followed it until I worked at a NASCAR event.
After my mother died (I had taken care of her for many years), I needed some supplemental income. I had worked part-time for a year and a half at a retail store but found that this was very tiring. I saw a notice in the paper about help needed for the NASCAR race.
Up until this time, I knew very little about NASCAR. I've heard of Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Sr, etc. The first orientation meeting I attended was held in the room where the race documentary is shown. I was very excited. It was held a week before the 24 hours Race.
I remembered that I worked what was then the Busch Series and the Daytona 500. I remember having a yard stick and measuring coolers to make sure they fit the guidelines which at the time (pre 9/11) were much different. This I vaguely remember. I remember going home towards the middle of the race. I turned the radio on to listen. I then went into K-mart, got some things and then came home to watch the rest of the race.
I saw the wreck that killed Dale Sr. and had heard that he was injured but I turned the station. I didn't heard anything for quite a while and knew that something was up. I don't remember what station I was watching, but at the top of the hour was news of his death. I was surprised as it didn't appear that the vehicle was badly damaged. Looks can be very deceiving.
I saw bites and pieces of his funeral on TV. Unlike other people, I had no strong feelings for Dale Earnhardt Sr one way or another. I really didn't know him nor did I follow the sport long enough to know whether I'd like him or not. Some people loved him, some people hated him.
A couple of weeks later I was working the motorcycle races at Daytona and happened to be standing near where a memorial had been put up at the sight where Dale Earnhadt Sr. crashed his car. There was a cross and a bible and a bumper sticker or some type of sticker which stated, "I hate crashing" or something to that effect.
As I look at this memorial, I felt a sense of dread and great sadness. It was almost like I was picking up on the energy left behind.
Something like this always leaves a mark on where it occurs.