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Track Director Brad of Toledo Speedway BMX invited us to stay an extra day, figuring we could use some “down” time. He was right. Frankenbutt needed to do some maintenance on the bikes and I needed to get some laundry done. After sleeping in much later than usual, which felt quite luxurious in the padded carpeted registration office with a fan blowing on us as we snoozed, I contacted some Ohio tracks to try and organize our travel schedule. I’m now waiting for return calls and email replies … hopefully, we’ll be in Columbus on Friday and then head towards Dayton and Southwest towards Indiana and Kentucky.
I found a bench to sit on and washed my hair, face and armpits before dressing for the day. Then, the Beast and I pulled all the dirty clothes we could find, looked up a local Laundromat and headed on our way. The Beast brought her latest book with her and was so lost in it that I didn’t even ask her to help. She was completely unfazed by the soap opera on the TV, the kids chasing each other around the Laundromat and the sounds of washers changing cycles all around her.
I found myself dripping with sweat as I folded the clothes from the dryer … well, at least my clothes would be clean if I wasn’t. I re-packed our pannier bags and mounted them on our bikes and then startled my daughter when I told her it was time to roll. She apologized for not helping and I told her “no problem”. We stopped at the local McD’s on the way back to the track to pick up some $1 menu sandwiches and to re-fill our water bottles with ice and water.
I received a text message from Brad telling us that we can help ourselves to a meal at the Speedway Tavern where he opened a tab for us. It was a generous offer and we decided to wait until after the Tuesday evening track maintenance in hopes that he would join us for our last night in town.
Around 4pm, an older gentleman drove up and told us he was Brad’s dad. We sat and talked and his pride in both his sons’ accomplishments really shown through his words. He told us how Brad had been a champion motocross racer for many years, how they had ridden motorcycles together for years. He had his 7 year old great granddaughter with him and the Beast and she immediately found things to talk about and ran off, avoiding the muddy spots.
About 5pm, Brad and one of the track volunteers showed up to brush the track down. Earlier in the day, Frankenbutt had moved the water pumps around to try and help dry out the track. We all grabbed brooms and set about the task of sweeping the loose dirt off the track and into the damp spots. We all broke a sweat and the track looked much better when we finished. I hope the weather holds out and they’re able to get their Wednesday night race going.
Afterwards, we decided to go to the Speedway tavern for a bite to eat and Brad told us how he typically picks a local kid or two who shows up, wants to race but doesn’t have the money or family support to do so. He usually offers to give them a membership (from his own pocket) and asks them to help him maintain the track, help in the announter tower, etc. Brad has been involved in BMX for 13 years and he has a very realistic attitude about what he does. He knows there are people he will help who may never show up at the track again. But he also knows how good it feels when he helps a rider, then sees them improve, sees their family start getting involved, etc. He said all of the disappointments are well worth the few times when he knows he has made a difference in a kid’s life.
Brad is right. Long time Track directors are a rare breed. It is practically a full time job with few, if any, financial rewards. There is very little recognition in their own community for what they do and there are always people telling them how to do their jobs. I admire every man and woman who has taken on the task and endured all that has come their way. Please keep doing what you’re doing. The kids are the best reason and the benefactors for all that you do.
I fell asleep thinking that. It’s a good thought to end the day.