As you think about the year ahead, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the things you want to do and things you didn’t get done. Here’s a quick story to help us all remember what’s really important:
Alex Zanardi is an Italien race car driver who competed at the highest level in Formula One and won two CART championships back to back in ’97 and ’98. If you were a fan of open wheel racing in the 90′s you probably were at least a casual fan of Zanardi.
After September 11th the sports world, like pretty much everything else, stopped. The weekend after the attack the only event that went off as planned was the CART race in Germany. The CART series was an American based series with very few international dates on the calendar, rescheduling the race wasn’t an option. So the race went ahead with several acts of recognition including a large American flag on the side pod of the cars, an area that would receive considerable attention.
After pitting from the lead late in the race Zanardi was merging back on track when he spun his tires and lost control. Spinning from the warmup lane onto the track directly into the racing line. One car missed him high, but Alex Tagliani wasn’t as fortunate. Slamming into the side pod of Zanardi’s car at full speed, as you can see below it was a brutal crash:
Amazingly Zanardi survived, barely. He lost both legs at or above the knee and lost nearly 75% of his body’s blood volume. In the subsequent surgeries more of his legs were amputated, but he survived.
Zanardi would go on to be something of an inspiration as returned to motorsports in vehicles modified with hand controls and he raced in various Touring championships in Europe and even ran a modified F1 car during a test session in 2006. In addition to competing in motorsports he also took up handcycling winning a gold medal in London.
Zanardi has incredible story, but he is also someone who seems to have his priorities in order.
A few weeks ago a German touring series offered him a full time ride in a modified BMW. Everything seemed to be lining up for the 46-year old to return to a premier series, even going as far to test the car but he ultimately decided to pass saying:
“We did have a conversation about taking it seriously further on,” Zanardi said, “but I decided it would be a little bit too much for me to be involved full-time for the whole season next year.
“It would mean I wouldn’t have time for things I’d enjoy – like cycling and fishing with my son – so I decided to wait for the next train,” he added.
This year you and I are going to be given opportunities that seem like a no brainer. There will be people we love and respect in our lives that tell us we are stupid to pass it up. Maybe those opportunities will be the right fit for you and your family and maybe they won’t be.
Have the courage to seek God and His will. More importantly have the courage to follow through.