How much safer are we as a civilization because of all of the innovations and advances of science and technology? Do you believe that the world is a better place than it was 20 years ago? Or have the safety measures that we have implemented merely given way to new dangers?
I don't like NASCAR because I don't understand the entertainment value or the strategy. I am okay with that and I am not going to intentionally learn. But I had the chance to hear Darryl Waltrip speak this year at the SMU Athletic Forum (thanks to my friend Kevin Hoque.) I was intrigued by his speech and actually made quite a few notes on the back of my napkin. The thing that jumped out at me during his speech was this: champions all have the same mindset regardless of the sport of the era. That was the overall take away that I had and that I committed to my notebook as a thought worth spending some time thinking on.
Then today I saw this quote:
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold." - Helen Keller
It brought me back to something else that Waltrip spoke about as he compared today's races with his era of NASCAR. He bemoaned the fact that all too often the drivers now when speaking in post race press conferences will make the statement, "It's just racing." The statement is usually made when referring to a bump or an intentional hit from another driver. In Waltrip's opinion at 200 mph there is no room for "it's just racing" mentality, but because of the safety the drivers feel due to the betterment of their vehicles, they are less concerned. He went on to make the point that it is in complacency and safety that the worse happens. It is after the worst happening that more safety and rules are put in place. It is after those rules and safety measures have been in place that once again new loopholes are found and those lines are challenged.
In thinking about the ageless mindset of a champion and the never ending battle with new safety measures (regulations) and the inevitable challenge of the new standard, my take away is this: it is the agility of mind and unquenchable curiousity of the soul that fuels those who attain greatness. It is their never ending quest for more and insatiable desire for thier best that propells them to higher heights than most ever dream.