I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am. (Henry J. Kaiser)
I reached a new milestone in my career yesterday: I covered my first auto race. I’m working on this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, so Tuesday, I got to participate in TPCR media day. And let me tell you, I had a great time.
Since I started working on Top Gear in its second season, I’ve developed an interest in cars, and almost since then, my friends from the show have encouraged me to get out and see an auto race. I’ve considered it for awhile, but I finally made the leap once I heard two of my close friends are part of this year’s TPCR field – Top Gear co-host Rutledge Wood and Fairly Legal star Michael Trucco. Rut and Michael are two of the best people I know, so I wanted to come out to Long Beach to support them. I wasn’t sure how well I’d actually fit in – but I was pleasantly surprised.
Media day was a great experience. I must tip my hat to the PR team responsible, because I could not have been treated better. I was able to accomplish everything I needed to without having to worry whatsoever. (Unless you count the sunburn I came back with after three hours in the sun. I forgot to put on any sunscreen.) It was probably one of the easiest times I’ve ever had working a major event, and it’s already got me convinced to come back and do it all again next year.
I also just loved the ability to spend time with two people that I really admire. There’s no other feeling like showing up for work and having people that I adore pleased to see me there. What I’m going to remember when everything is said and done is sitting out by the Toyota Racing trailer with Michael, just catching up with him, knowing that I get to call him one of my good friends. That’s what really matters, at least in my opinion. When I’m gone, I don’t see anyone talking about the number of hits on my articles; they’ll be talking about the friendships I formed and the kind of person I was. Tuesday reminded me yet again that by choosing this line of work, I’ve earned my place in some very good company.
There’s another lesson to be taken away from this, and it’s that you can’t underestimate the power of broadening your horizons. I wouldn’t have considered covering the TPCR if Rutledge and Michael weren’t racing, but I’m so glad that their presence got me to try it. I can think of so many other things that I said yes to even though I either wasn’t very familiar or sometimes didn’t even know such a thing existed. I never wanted to cover reality TV, but now it’s impossible for me to think about my life without The Voice as a part of it. That, in turn, opened up a whole world of music to me, and I’d always figured music would never be a part of my life – but now it’s a huge part, and some of my best friends are musicians. If I’d confined myself to just writing about the things I know, I would have missed meeting so many wonderful people, and having so many great experiences.
The best part is that I don’t know where I’m going from here. I hope to get to come back and cover next year’s TPCR, and I certainly hope my friends are racing again. But maybe by next year, I’ll have worked even more auto races. Maybe I’ll find something else I love. I could be about to start a whole other journey in my life…and I’ll look back on it and know that it all started Tuesday in Long Beach.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is next Saturday, April 20 as part of the Grand Prix of Long Beach. You can find out more information about the entire Grand Prix by visiting the event website. The Pro/Celebrity Race will also be televised on SPEED/Fox Sports One at a later date.