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 Columns & Editorials

August 12, 2000

Whose Responsibility Is It??

By Jane Smith

Once again the message board is on fire and this time, some of it is being blamed on kids. Whether or not that is true, I don't know but even if it was kids making the posts, where did they get their attitudes???

Drivers, crew members, owners, track personnel, we all have a responsibility to the kids that watch the races and the ones that eventually become racers. Why are we teaching them that it is okay to have a double standard, to say one thing and yet do another? All this does is teach that no one has to go by the rules, that rules don't count and winning is everything so you do whatever you have to to win even if that means taking someone out when you really know better.

Have you ever seen the look on a child's face when his or her hero has been punched in the face? Let me tell you, that is not a look that anyone wants to see. Fighting does not accomplish anything ever, and it NEVER teaches children anything good. Fighting is not the solution to any problem and if you are too angry to discuss the problem, walk away, cool off and come back and talk reasonable.

The tracks where I take my children have never been one for fighting. Fighting is a no-no and usually if you want to fight, then you don't want to race anymore and that is usually what you get. But recently you see on the message board about tracks that actually have more fights than racing. If this is true, then something is definitely wrong and someone needs to step in and take control and stop the childish behavior.

Raising good kids is not easy. Racing does help keep families together and for most parents, it pretty much lets them see their kids since they are at the track and not out wondering off in no-where land. But it is not just parents that teach these kids, it is all of us and we need to do a better job. Don't teach these kids that it is okay to cheat, it is okay to call other people names and it is okay to knock the socks off someone simply because you were in a bad mood and had to take it out on someone. This is not the way it is suppose to be, IT IS THE WAY THAT IT SHOULD NEVER BE.

Recently I was told that racers at Orlando SpeedWorld and New Smyrna Speedway don't know how lucky they are. They race where they are safe and comfortable and where people actually seem to care about you. Not all tracks seem to care about their families and that is one of the key ingredients for a good track, caring and listening to your second family.

For the sake of our kids, and they are "OUR" kids, let's teach them that winning is not everything but what truly counts is how you play together and how you treat your fellow racer and man. We are not in this local racing scene for money, no way, no how. Local racing means having fun, doing your best, and congratulating the winner with a smile on your face and a hand shake or kiss, which ever is appropriate.

It is much easier to do the right thing than the wrong thing and kids do know the difference although we all know, that kids do what they see and NOT what they are told. If you drink, they usually drink. If you smoke, they smoke and if you cheat at a sport or life, so do they. What kind of adult do you want your son or daughter to be and do you want them to believe it is okay to do anything as long as you WIN?? And if you think the kids are really writing mean messages on the message board, think where they got them from. Somewhere, sometime, somehow, an adult has shown them the wrong way.

Jane Smith

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