One of the things I often refer to is my “Never Give Up” attitude.
Long, long ago, in another time and place an old NCO gave a speech. I did take away one idea I’ve tried to follow all my life. You know, my life law.
“If you never give up, you will never be beaten. You can lose, or can come in second or even dead last. But if you didn’t give up, you weren’t beaten”.
Over the years, I’ve come close to giving up a few times, but I’m still here so I guess I wasn’t beaten.
This “Mantra” was hardest to convey to my 2 youngest as they grew up. They had to listen to me tell that story so many times, I’m sure they got sick of hearing it, rolled their eyes, and turned me to “mute” till it was over. They all turned out damn fine adults and human beings so I guess it was worth it.
I’ve even told that story to a lot of young bikers over the years. There is one young man that got that lesson and I’m pretty sure it stuck.
It was at a bike club party, not sure which club, but it was held at a Makaha Ranch. Just for grins, they decided to have a barrel race.
A biker barrel race is just like a rodeo barrel race. You have a starting line, 3 barrels laid out kinda like a baseball diamond. The difference is, you leave the start go to the area between 1st and 2nd, go around the barrel, then across to the area between 2nd and 3rd this time after you round the barrel you go straight ahead, go around barrel number 2, and then back to the start, which is now the finish line.
Since I’d done this before, the host club asked me to do the demo run. But, you need to be aware of three things.
First, let me put something in perspective. The whole contest depends on your total time. From start to finish, the clock runs on.
Second, I was riding a 1980 Harley Davidson 80ci Wide Glide, that didn’t have a working electric starter. In reality, it was kick start only.
Third, I’d been at the party way too long already. I should not have been riding, I was drunk. Not that that had ever stopped me. (I have since learned better.)
However, this was on private property so no cops, and I was, in a manner of speaking, up to the challenge. Probably shouldn’t have.
When you’re making your run around the barrel, the tighter your turn, the shorter the time. In this case, closer is better. However, if you’re too close, you gotta lean hard and since this was grass and dirt, too hard would dump you, but it was fun.
So here we go. Of course, I get to “1st base” and drop the bike. I wasn’t going fast enough to do any damage, but it did kill the engine.
Pick-up the bike, drop the kick stand and jump on the kick starter. Repeat until it starts.
Then over to “3rd base” and repeat the whole process again. Only this time I’m laughing so hard, I’m having trouble getting things in the correct order and drop the damn bike again.
This next part of the story was later related to by a patched club member who standing nearby.
While I was out on the field making as ass out of myself, headed for second base, my wife was in the front of the crowd watching, not cheering, but watching.
A young rider, not a member of any patched motorcycle club, made a loud comment to the effect,
“He ain’t no good. He oughta just give up.”
Suddenly, he found himself confronted with a 5’, 105lb banshee asking, “What the Fxxx did you say? What did you say?”
The young rider stuttered for a moment, found some balls, and repeated,
“He should just give up.”
Wrong thing to say.
By all the after action accounts, this young man was backed up, clear through the standing crowd, by my wife who proceeded to tell him in no uncertain terms,
“My old man NEVER GIVES UP. I don’t see you up there doing any better, so in other words, all mouth and no action. So unless you ‘re going out there and ride, just shut the hell up.”
She also proceeded to tell him clearly and concisely what HE should do with his give up attitude, and where he should put it.
To the young man’s credit, either it didn’t occur to him or he was smarter that he acted, he didn’t get froggy, insult or try to push past her. He just turned around and walked away.
I say that was smart because he was surrounded by motorcycle patch holders that probably would have taken any such action as a personal affront. I think you can guess what that would have resulted in.
I finally crossed the finish line and demanded my “time”. With a perfectly straight face the patch holder looked at me and after looking at the watch and loudly announced, “Tuesday!”
It was a great answer, a good laugh and a terrific party, and hopefully a lesson to a young rider.
By the way, I keep telling you, my wife is a warrior.