Today, Tony Stewart met with the press for the first time since he sustained a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in an accident at a Sprint Car race, a hobby that he participates in when he’s not, well, driving a stock car in NASCAR. And the press asked the obvious question — whether he regretted to run in the race. This was his response:
It’s just life, guys. Things happen every day. You can’t spend your whole life trying to guard against something happening. If you do that, in my opinion, you’ve wasted your life. I’m going to take full advantage of whatever time I’ve got on this earth. I’m going to get my money’s worth. You can bet your butt on that.
Tony pointed to Bobby Labonte’s bike accident last week, which left him with three broken ribs and out of NASCAR competition at Atlanta last weekend.
Tony’s quote got me to thinking in two respects. First, should racers be allowed to do whatever they want in their spare time? Or should they limit the racing to the series in which they earn their paycheck? Tony Stewart is lucky that this was not a career-ending injury. But Robert Kubica was not so lucky. A crash while driving a rally car effectively ended his F1 career. Before today, I might have said that drivers racing in their spare time were crazy. But after listening to Tony, I’m having second thoughts.
Second, I thought about his words on a bigger scale and thought about how they can apply to anyone’s life, not just a racer. Sometimes you just need to put the guards down and let life happen.
What do you think? Is Tony right?