I suppose we all remember the days from our youth when nothing in the world mattered and our most stressful decisions revolved around where the next party was going to be. Well, as we grow older those blissful days of long ago pass off into the distant and seldom explored reaches of our memories. I often try to stretch out a hand and grab some of those memories Grudge Races before they wisp away unable to be contained again. This moment is no different and while this memory is fresh I want to get it down in print and share it with whomever will listen in the hope that it may bring to light a long stored away memory of their own.
In my youth, slot car racing was an amazing adventure in which we could live out the fantasy of racing in Taladega or outrunning the police in an amazing trans-am while Burt Reynolds cheered us on from the sidelines. The tracks were bumpy and often we spent more time trying to find all of the pieces than we did racing. I remember placing blocks under sharp corners to make a bank so that our cars would not go sailing off of the track and into the wall. And though we weren’t really stock car racers, for that brief moment in time we were the fastest people on four wheels. Slot car racing was not only fun, but it developed a level of innovation and ingenuity in us that couldn’t help but boost our self esteem and build our confidence.
When a connection between track sections failed, we used everything from paper clips to foil gum wrappers to repair the circuit. When a car need to go just a little faster, we would file down unnecessary pieces of metal to gain a weight advantage. If cars could not hold the corners we anything available to bank the corners. We were geniuses, we were engineers, we were mechanics, and we were pit crews. Though our parents may have believed we were wasting our time, in the end we were learning valuable lessons that would transcend slot car racing and impact other arenas of our lives. To this day I carry the lessons learned long ago at the track into many of the things I do.
Though I may not be an engineer, the lessons I learned about making strong connections that last have served me well in my adult life whether it is an electrical connection or a relationship with a friend. Though I may not be a mechanic, the lessons learned about quality craftsmanship have helped me to form some of the most important decisions in my life and though I may not work in a pit crew, the experience of working with others in the pursuit of a common goal is the foundation upon which I have formed my business style.
It is hard to imagine looking back, that something so simple as slot car racing could possibly be the cornerstone on which the rest of my life is founded and that might be stretching it a little far but, it certainly is something worth hanging on to. Thankfully, there are many places around the world with the same idea and they are all working diligently to make that sure that slot car racing is not lost to the dust bin of history. There are companies now using new technology to make tracks that are better and faster than they ever were before and companies making them accessible to the masses. There are websites that are devoted to the tradition and history of slot car racing and to these brave souls who dare to stand up and say “some things are worth saving” I salute you.