My wife and I traveled six hours to another state to watch him race that day. We had watched him race locally several times. Yet, always, in the back or our minds, was the hope that his involvement in the dangerous sport of motorcycle racing was just a phase of youthful enthusiasm. But this race was different. It was proof positive, that motorcycle racing was not a phase.
Here's an attempt at some poetry to explain a long-ago motorcycle adventure.
Puff of Smoke/A Parents’ Perspective
His was one of fifteen motorcycles
To race six laps around the twenty-turn course.
At lap number six he led the final charge.
There was no doubt first place was his.
Through squinted eyes we had indeed
Seen him enter that final turn.
But then for one and all to see
There was that puff of smoke.
Our hearts did take a temporary flutter,
For we had hoped that rider would be OK.
Still, my wife and I surveyed the track
Certain, we were, our son would finish first.
Our son had ridden so self-assured.
He had practiced so very hard.
And we were surely confident
His first victory we were to see.
But all the bikes, ‘cept for one,
crossed the line in front of us.
We did not see his mighty steed
Perhaps, we thought, an untimely blink we had.
No alarm arose for us
Because our son beyond a doubt
Was the one we all would see
Atop the race’s podium.
But our triumphant feelings soon turned unsettling
When someone else’s name was called as winner.
Could he have been that puff of smoke?
Our son had still not yet appeared to us.
To that final curve, our focus did return.
We could see but not identify
The warrior and his broken steed
Patiently waiting in the disheartening sand.
The emergency vehicle arrived on scene
To check the status of warrior and steed.
They loaded both onto the pick-up’s bed
And off the track they turned.
That noble warrior’s name
Had not been spoken yet
Could it be? Could it really be?
It was our son’s name not spoken of?
Our hearts were sinking.
Our thoughts were reeling.
Then suddenly, from behind our backs, our son appeared.
His face was smiling from ear to ear.
That puff of smoke, he revealed to us,
Was absolutely his undoing.
He over corrected on that final turn.
But “Hey” he said, “I walked away unhurt”.
That was the first of more to come
Puffs of smoke we were to see.
And with persistence, dedication, and love of sport.
Many podium visits did come his way.