Sunday, August 28, 2011

It Has Been A Long Time

Carolynn and I (and 11,000 fans) ventured out for a rare concert last night. The last concert we attended was Bruce Springsteen several years ago. A great show and maybe one that can not be bested. This time out it was the tour of Heart and Def Leppard. Heart, especially 61 year old Ann Wilson, was great and sounded better than they did the last time I saw them.....

Why I love this band:

Heart opened with "It has been a long time". Which it sure has been. The last time I saw Heart was in Tampa, FL back in 1987. My girlfriend at the time knew I was a big fan and wanted to do something "really special for me".

I can still remember back then. I was going to the University of South Florida as a Junior. Believe it or not, I was attending the College of Medicine. Yes, I was going to be Doc Locke. As you know, sometimes things just don't go as planned.....It was a great evening with the Wilson sisters and the members of Heart. We spent about an hour with them enjoying dinner and then we were escorted to the front row for the show. It was after the show that my life took a turn. Somehow it came up where she got the tickets. She had bought the tickets and backstage passes from her co-worker, who had won them from a radio station, for roughly $500.00. At the time, I was a college student, a motocross nut trying to race with little money, and working part-time. You could imagine I was on a seriously tight budget. I about freaked when she told me this and I immediately blurted out "I would have never done that for you". She took this the wrong way and the next day when I came home from class she had moved out. This event sparked off a chain of events that changed me life.

Here is that concert series back in 1987. I loved the 80's and the music it has given us.

The next couple of weeks I hit the books and also put in some hard racing up at Dade City Raceway. There were a couple of big money races with a nice cash payout in Open Money class and an upcoming round of the Florida Gold Cup. I was leading the series and need some extra cash to help pay the rent due to my lose of roommate. I was riding with a lot of anger and built up emotions. They only way I knew to deal with it was ride really hard.

My friend Tom had a better way to deal with it - drink heavily. So I did both - parted with Tom and rode my butt off at the races. I did both really well for several weeks earning some big payoffs with overall wins two weeks in a row at Dade City. But then excess caught up with me. I had told Tom that Sunday was a big race for me and that I could not got to this big party over in Temple Terrace. Somehow he talked me into going and I did not get home until very late with one too many Jack Daniels in me.

The next day I made my way up to the race feeling really sick. I actually had an o.k. first moto where I battled with Suzuki factory support rider Vince Devane in the 125 Expert class. He got the better of me but I still gained points on the rest of the field. Second moto was a different story. Between moto's I got sick a couple of times from my prior night excess and could not keep anything down. I still lined up of course and actually got a good start. A couple of laps into the moto I was having a hard time keeping up and making a couple of the harder doubles on the course. The last thing I remember was taking an outside line in this one turn so I could make this triple jump. They said I somehow drifted to the outside while I was in the air and as I started to land I taped the rear brake so I could land on the downward side of the far jump. Only thing is the outside of this jump had not been worn down and it was basically a drop off.

I awoke two days later in the Dade City Hospital with sever head injuries including broken nose, two broken eye sockets, detached retina, skull broken in several places, brain swelling and bleeding. I was left alone in the hospital with no way to get home and no one to call. There was no way I was going to call my parents as they hated the fact that I raced motocross.

I was never the same person or rider after that. I had to drop some of my classes because I could not really comprehend the subject mater well enough. A year later I was back in South Florida attending Florida Atlantic University where I was now studying finance and working towards my B.B.A. Funny how life works out sometimes....

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