Losing … everyone hates it. What’s to love about being on the losing side? If you hate to lose, what I’m about to say might sound a little strange. Losing is more important than winning. Yes, I fully believe that to be true. Let that sink in for a minute.
Why might losing be more important than winning? The most valuable thing anyone can learn in life is how to deal with the emotions of losing. Losing sucks. It tells us we aren’t as good as we thought or hoped to be. Losing can make you feel out of control, or at the very least more vulnerable than we care to admit. It’s hard to accept, but by practicing losing respectfully, we become better people and therefore more respected. Recovering after a loss and getting back at it builds character that ensures that ultimately you’ll win at life. We really haven’t lost completely, unless, after losing, we give up and stop trying.
I feel the need to include mention of another type of loss. Out of respect for the privacy of a close racing friend, (not mentioning any names), someone we all know, and respect, has recently lost his loving wife. These two individuals have been instrumental in so many racers’ journeys, and for years they both have been a highly respected institution within our racing community. I have personally admired this husband-and-wife team for years, not only for their exemplary business practice, amazing engine builds and more, but because of their passion of motorsports, and the love they shared for each other. It doesn’t get any better than that. Like so many others within NASA, I too hope my friend will continue his motorsports legacy in honor of his wonderful wife. She will be dearly missed by all.
People who work in racing either do so for a short stint in their career, or they’re diehards. They’re diehards because even if they try a different job or business for a while, they inevitably find themselves back at the track.
Why? Because working in the world of racing means you had to invest time in gaining specific knowledge about this environment. It’s that specific knowledge, which is rarely taught, and usually comes from learning by doing, failing, succeeding, then doing it all over again. This same succession is often fueled by curiosity and a desire to connect the dots, and in most cases, often without monetary compensation.
If you have invested countless hours of effort into the process of learning, measured in race seasons, podium finishes, and championship wins instead of college, and workshops, that’s difficult to abandon.
But there’s much more to it than that. People who choose to take part in racing are naturally surrounded by others who also went through the school of hard knocks, who volunteered to take part in the harsh environment at the crack of dawn or late at night in a cold rain like so many have who endured the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
Motorsports, and measured risk-taking in front of an audience, no matter the size, let alone family, friends, and peers alike, are magnets for strong personalities. We’ve learned to weigh the adversity of uncertain environments against the odds of celebrating a win with our team, and we feel at home with those who also chose this path.
So, you’ll see us always adding to our arsenal of specific knowledge. It may look like we’re living the high life at the racetrack, or you might see us carrying boxes of team jackets, hand warmers, and hot chocolate through the pouring rain. In both cases, we are gaining the satisfaction of perpetual, experienced-based learning, and that, my friend, is the greatest win of all.