|B.The Pool of Tears
2. "Drowning in Tears" – create a blog entry (or static item) telling about the saddest event of your life. (<1000 words)
Drowning in Tears
Like anyone else, I’ve had ups and downs in my life. There have been times when I’ve felt that things could not get worse but, even so, I have always been aware that my life has not really given me any grounds for complaint. Maybe I am just well insulated against tragedy but I cannot think of a moment that I could describe as truly sad. Apart from what follows.
The terrible thing is that the lowest point I can think of did not concern me or anyone close to me. Yet it was an event that shook me to my core and I still find it difficult to think about. I speak of the death of Ayrton Senna.
My one lifelong interest in sport of any kind has been in motor racing. Since the age of about fourteen, I have followed Formula One (F1) with a passion that is only found when males get interested in a sport. From that time, the result of races has mattered to me, even though I never had the money to participate myself.
In 1984 a Brazilian named Ayrton Senna earned a drive in F1, starting in a small team that had struggled to make an impact in its early years. From the moment he sat in the car, it was apparent that Ayrton was something special. Not only was he fast, he was also dedicated to his task and worked hard to make his body and mind the best they could be to achieve his goal. Even in his first year in F1, it was obvious that he was destined for greatness.
At first, I fought against recognising the talent that was so obvious in him. I had my heroes in the drivers of the time and I resented the fact that this newcomer should enter the sport and make such an immediate impact. He won me over in time, however.
Ayrton won a race in only his second year in F1, something that very few people have done, especially when driving for a lesser team. From there he went on to win race after race, graduating to better teams and, over the course of his career, winning the world championship three times. I became an ardent supporter, not thanks to his success but because there were times when his driving became so in tune with life and reality that it was a joy to watch. There was one season in particular in which he brought an uncompetitive car to first place so many times that he seemed superhuman. That was the kind of reputation and charisma that he had.
And then, one day in 1994, when he was leading the race at Imola, something broke in his car and it went straight on at a corner, aiming, without decelerating or deviating, for a concrete wall. It struck the wall with enormous force at exactly the right angle to break off a front wheel and suspension that then looped over the car and landed in the cockpit. I watched on television in real time.
The race was stopped immediately and the medical professionals worked on Ayrton for a long time. But it was already clear that no one could have survived such an accident. Still I hoped for a miracle.
It was not to be. The authorities eventually released the news that the great man was dead and the F1 world and Brazil went into mourning. I was so shattered by the event that I could not watch F1 again for years afterwards. Even when I returned to the sport, it was never quite the same.
Time passed and, just here and there, now and then, I saw a flash when a driver exhibited the same skill and oneness with the elements that had been so obvious in Ayrton. Today my own nation has a driver who has been world champion six times and will probably be champion again this year. His driving gives the same kind of joy that Ayrton produced so apparently effortlessly. He is even, as Ayrton was, a Christian. But there is an empty place in F1 that can never be filled now Ayrton has gone.
They say that those whom the gods love, die young. In Ayrton’s case, that is certainly true. But it omits the fact that we who are left behind are somehow lessened by the void left by the departed one. Sadness, you say? Well, yes, I have some slight acquaintance with such a thing. Whether it has anything to do with Alice, however, is entirely a different matter.
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