NASCAR, more than any other sport, carries the specter of grievous injury, or worse, with it every time the green flag drops. You see the drivers kiss their families goodbye before every race, and there's a part of you that starts wondering what if. Let's face it, nobody expects the worst when a pitcher goes out to throw a few innings.
Where the pathos ratchets up exponentially is when kids come into the equation. The idea of watching your dad (or mom, let's be fair) drive 200-plus mph has to be a thrilling one, but what about when things don't go so well? Jeff Gordon faced just such a scenario this past weekend, and fortunately, he was able to walk his 4-year-old daughter Ella through the wreck replay from a safe distance.
As Scene Daily notes, father and daughter watched the wreck together on Sunday morning, as Ella was asleep when the wreck happened. And thankfully, Gordon could assure his daughter that he was just fine.
"That is the downside of being a parent as a race-car driver when things like that happen," he said. "Had she been awake and heard the reaction of my wife, that probably would have gotten her more concerned than anything else."
Scene noted that Jeff Burton, who has older children, has a broad sense of perspective. "You shouldn't be stupid in the decisions that you make, but you have to do the things that make you alive," he said. "Part of living is experiencing it. If you shelter yourself, you'd never enjoy things. I want my kids to take chances in life, but I also want them to be calculating and understand the risks."
Thankfully for the fans, but especially for the drivers and their families, safety advances are such that drivers can walk (or, in some cases, limp) away from these wrecks. Here's hoping that's the worst these kids see.
Words of Comfort [Scene Daily]
- Jeff Gordon