Monday, October 22, 2018

Born Racer Movie Review

When you are as good at something as Scott Dixon is at racing, you don't magically become that good at some point, you are born that way.

That's why Born Racer is a perfect title for the movie that followed the five-time IndyCar champion and 44-time IndyCar winner through the 2017 season.

Starting with his pole position and horrible crash at the 2017 Indy 500, and literally fading to black the last time he walked off the track to close out that season, the movie is an outstanding look behind the curtain of one of the greatest open wheel drivers in history and the team that has helped propel him to all of his championships and all but one of his wins.

I won't give away any spoilers, I'll just say that this was a really freaking good movie. It wasn't as mind-blowing as say, Senna, but it is the perfect match to Dixon's personality. The movie was calm, passionate, calculated, determined -- all in all it captured who the man is and how he has been able to position himself as a Rushmore-level driver on the track.

As a long-time IndyCar fan, I didn't really learn anything new about Scott Dixon, but to talk about what makes him successful, and to actually see it are two different things. We know the guy is all-in -- he has been his whole life -- but to see the dedication he puts towards his craft just solidifies why he is who he is.

Dixon's life and success is built on a synergy and a balance between himself and the people around him who are tasked with putting him in a position to succeed. It's almost like a glacier, we know what he does when he gets in the car every weekend, but that's just the tip of it. The rest that sits underwater is 90 percent of the gig.

Like a starting pitcher in baseball, the four days between his starts are just as vital and important to his success as the fifth day when he gets the ball and goes to work. That's part of Dixon's brilliance: he has figured out a balance between his family and his job, he knows how to compartmentalize and when each task in his life needs to be executed.

That synergy starts at home with his wife, Emma, and extends to the people of Ganassi Racing. As a former elite athlete herself, she knows when he needs to be pushed and when to give him space, all the while walking the racing spouse tightrope between letting them follow their passion, and the fear and the constant worry that you are going to be the "next one".

The movie also spends a lot of time focusing on the team, and what needs to be done to get Scott (and then-teammate Tony Kanaan) on the track each weekend. The working relationship between Dixon, Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull is very reminiscent of the relationship that Rick Mears shared with Roger Penske during his driving career (and that Hull and Ganassi had with Dario Franchitti). It's that combination of and elite-level driver and elite-level personnel that makes everything work.

One thing the movie shows is that at the end of the day, success is a complete team effort. I'll explain more about my observations of professional sports on my podcast this week, but the success of a team is everyone doing their job and being accountable for it. Understanding their role and how that role affects the well-being of everyone else.

It leads to a lot of emotional highs and lows, and we see all of that in the movie. Racing lends itself to passion and emotion, which we see as the team absolutely pours everything it has into each race weekend. By the end of the movie, you will be pretty invested in all of it as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

15 Days in May Rides Again!

Back in December, 2010, I started this blog as a way to connect with what was then a much smaller group of IndyCar fans.

At the time, I was having trouble getting (back) into IndyCar, just because I had no one to talk about it with. This blog, as well as Twitter, helped me connect with a lot of people, and I made some friends that I look forward to seeing whenever I would go to a race.

The blog also paid off in another way, as in May, 2012 I was invited to be a part of the Social Media Garage, which was a great experience that I'll never forget.

15 Days in May has provided me a forum to air my thoughts, opinions, grievances, and any other ideas my whirlwind of a brain comes up with. It's been a great thing.

At some point, though, I started looking for newer and shinier things. ADHD -- can't live with it, can't shoot it. The posts came fewer and fewer, and my interest in IndyCar kind of dwindled as well.

It kind of all came to a head this year. In my quest to become involved in IndyCar in some sort of capacity, I suffered through a good deal of rejection and frustration. I know I have ideas that could make a difference...I know it! I'm good at this stuff, and I couldn't understand why no one wanted to take a chance on me.

Another thing I did was I chased a couple of rainbows that didn't pan out. They seemed like great ideas at the time, but in the end weren't for me.

As a result, for the first time in a long time, I didn't really care all that much about the start of the IndyCar season. I mean, I watched the races and followed a little bit, but my excitement level wasn't where it had been in the past.

Just recently, I chased another rainbow. I listened to what sounded like the greatest pitch of all time, and as of now, it's fizzled off into oblivion.

Going through all of this made me realize something:

I need 15 Days in May.

I have realized that my little blog, whether one person or one hundred people read each post, is my lifeline to the sport. In my quest to become a member of the IndyCar community, I lost sight of the fact that I was already a member of the IndyCar community! It would be nice if someday I could be paid to be part of said community, but for now I just want to be back in the fold.

I'm bringing back the blog, and I'm also making a huge commitment to a 15 Days in May podcast. Like, really, really huge. Like, in your face until y'all recognize huge.

I've also decided that I'm happiest when I'm myself. I've gotten pretty stale and corporate because I didn't want to offend any potential employers, but that's over too. I'm going to be myself, and if that's not for you, it isn't.

In the end, I love to write and I love to talk. I love to share, and collaborate. It's who I am. Racing is my passion, and I want to pursue that passion, regardless if there is a payoff down the road.

I've always thought that everything in our lives could be fit into two categories -- who we are or what we do. I believe there is a difference between the two. Writing and creating is who I am, and doing that for racing is next level stuff to me. Not doing it left a pretty big void in my life, and I realized I didn't like it.

So here we go again...