"I know you can" was written on the pitboard as we came racing past my brother who was standing on the sidelines. One person stood in the way of my winning first overall at the Binghampton Amateur Motocross Nationals, and I wasn't going to let him stop me. As we raced down the straight, I held onto the throttle and swerved in front of him. There was no stopping me now, I thought, as I hammered through the track.
People ask me constantly, "Why do you race that thing? Do you actually think you're going somewhere?" I also hear, "You're going to kill yourself," or "You're crazy." These questions and comments push me even more; I believe racing motocross gives me more self-confidence and shows me that having no fear will always get me farther in life.
Motocross has been a main interest for me since I was six years old. My father showed up with a bike in the back of his truck one night and ever since I've never wanted to get off. Now he wishes he had never brought the bike home, but he understands that I love the sport and backs me one hundred percent.
On the second-to-last lap I passed my brother and there, written on the board were the letters "TG" which meant that I had a nine-second lead. When I crossed the finish line and got the signal from the white flag, I said to myself, "This race is mine!" But as I sailed over a large double jump I came up a few feet too short. It was all over! Over the bars I crashed, landing on my arm and head, and crushing the nerves in my elbow. Struggling to the side of the track I watched the finish, and said to myself "Why me?" It was such an important race - and I had lost.
After being away from the track for a few weeks, I noticed that I really did miss the action and the fear. When I returned and pulled up to the starting line, it was like the first time again. It made me realize that I would always return to the sport I love. It also showed me that getting back on the bike is my promise to never give up on anything I do or want to become. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.