Traditions help fuel the blessings of Thanksgiving and for CompetitionPlus.com, we’re embarking on a new tradition. Here at the magazine we consider ourselves traditional, a big family if you will. We share many hours together in labor and miles together on the road in our efforts to produce a top-notch drag racing publication.
The time together on the road enables us to focus on the different facets of our life for which we are most thankful.
In following the Thanksgiving tradition, CompetitionPlus.com each year will select one driver or drag racing industry figure to share with our readers what they are most thankful for.
Our first installment comes from Jack Beckman, driver of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger Funny Car.
I’m Thankful For …
I’m thankful to have a job that most people would themselves pay to do. In fact, for 21 years that is exactly what I did: every hour of overtime, every day of "vacation" was spent on racing or maintaining my race car. Now I have a magnificent crew of nine, sponsors that treat me like gold, a team owner and infrastructure geared towards helping me win a world championship, and fans that support me through all of the "ups and downs" that this sport provides.
I'm thankful to live in a country where I can travel from coast to coast without a passport. The biggest hassle involves a quick stop at a checkpoint to see if you've transported any fruits or vegetables from another state. I'm thankful that one of the biggest complaints I have is about local speed limits, bumpy road conditions, and ugly rest areas. The fact that we have roads safe enough to travel at the speed limit, and that rest areas are provided if needed...that's all good (okay, I still complain about the taxes and DMV fees I have to spend to maintain this system).
BOB’S BIG BOY
I'm thankful that's Bob's Big Boy, once looking like it was heading the way of the Dodo Bird, is making a comeback. Now I can enjoy may favorite meal without having to make sure it's the "Last Supper".
WIFE WHO BUYS FURNITURE
I'm thankful that my wife wants to keep buying furniture that I think is too extravagant or pricey. You see, this means that we still own our own house, and that may be one of the most precious things that a person can have...a place to call home. Perhaps my biggest fear in life is being homeless, and so many people today are faced with that dilemma, whether by bad choices, bad circumstances, or just bad luck. Every night I lay my head down on MY pillow, on MY bed, in MY bedroom, in MY house, I feel that is reason to be very thankful.
I'm thankful for charities. In a country where, more and more, the government is telling us that -because we choose to work overtime, extend ourselves, strive for excellence, and make sacrifices- we need to "redistribute OUR wealth" (funny how many of the members of the very administration who support this policy won't actually be affected by it), some folks haven't lost sight of the real value of wealth: being able to help those who truly need it WITHOUT being taxed to do it. I salute those who give of themselves to provide for the less fortunate in the ONLY way that it should be done: voluntarily.
FOR THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM
I'm thankful that I don't have to fight other human beings in a war. Some of my relatives served in war time, and my uncle paid the ultimate price. I am thankful that during my four years in the military I wasn't put in harm's way, but I salute all those men and women who have served, and continue to serve in times of conflict. I salute the parents, friends and relatives of those killed or wounded in battle, and I hope that one day we will find other ways to deal with our disagreements. However, I am so thankful to live in a country where our military serves as both a deterrent and an awe-inspiring force to those that wish to destroy our way of life. In fact, most of what I am thankful for is due to the people who have served this country faithfully in defense of democracy and freedom.
PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT ME
I'm thankful that I didn't have to die to find out how much people cared about me. Eulogies are always so touching, but getting to hang around AFTER everyone says all that nice stuff about you can't be beat!
I'm thankful to have an amazing wife and wonderful son. Chemo made me sterile, but I still had a wonderful girlfriend and great life. Now I am married to my love and we just adore our son, the greatest "little surprise" that anyone ever received!
I'm thankful just to be writing this column. Before cancer, I had such a naive outlook on health issues, but not anymore. I am thankful that medical doctors are given the chance to attend school to further their understanding of treatments, I am thankful that universities are given grants to research different pathogens and cures, and I am thankful that charities have targeted many deadly illnesses to give those stricken a much greater chance of survival than just a generation ago. I am thankful that my treatments were successful, yet I am sorrowful that my mother's (and thousands of others) weren't. I don't question why I survived and so many others did not, but I'll never hesitate to say "yes" about writing an article on "being thankful" ever again!
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