By Del Duduit
I’m thrilled to have plans to attend the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 this weekend.
Although I don’t follow racing as much as other sports, this event is one of the most exciting you will ever attend. The pageantry leading up to the race combined with nearly one million people makes it “the greatest spectacle in racing.”
Last year I went to cover one of my former fourth-grade basketball players who has made it to the big time in the sport.
Zach Veach drove with A.J. Foyt in 2017, and this year, he will be under the helm of Andretti Racing. I’m happy for him and proud of him too.
I got a kick out of him last year when I walked into his garage and he introduced me to his crew as his “old basketball coach.”
It was a pleasure to catch up with Zach this past weekend during practice. He’s ready.
I am praying he has a good showing this weekend and even wins his dream race. I will ask all of you to cover him in your prayers for safety. This sport is dangerous.
Last year, I also met and became friends with George Del Canto, the owner of Kingdom Racing. He is a true man of God and uses his platform on the track to spread the gospel of Christ. I visited with George earlier this week during practice runs, and I hope to reconnect with him again on Sunday.
I walked around with George and his wife, Maricarman, on Race Day in 2017, six hours before the call to “start your engines” as he prayed over each car in the race.
I made a lot of good memories last year, and I count on making more this weekend.
As I mingled my way around many of the drivers and their crews during the hours before the green flag waved last year, I heard a phrase mentioned over and over to those behind the wheel.
The phrase is peppered throughout history. You may recall when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin blasted off for the Moon in 1969, the last words they heard from the control room was Good luck and Godspeed.
When I hear these words, I feel a twinge of uncertainty and get a queasy feeling in my stomach. Immediately, I think of danger ahead.
The only times you seem to hear these two words together are when astronauts blast off into orbit, soldiers head into battle, and racers dart around the track.
I find the expression almost as eery as hearing “Taps” performed right before the running of the 500.
What does Godspeed mean anyway? Does it suggest that you are going to meet your Maker quicker than you had anticipated? I certainly hope not.
According to scripture in the King James version, the words God and speed appear together twice in 2 John 1: 10 -11.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any part of that.
Godspeed actually means to “rejoice” or “be of good cheer.”
But if this word was bellowed right before the running of the Indy 500, it would not have the same effect.
I wonder what Buzz would have thought if he heard Rejoice come over the microphone from Launch Control instead of Godspeed.
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You must admit, there is a connotation of valiancy and heroism tossed into the meaning when you hear Godspeed.
Any way you look at it, I’m glad folks say this to the racers before they suit up and get behind the wheel. For some, it may be the only word of encouragement they hear that day.
And you know there are no atheists in foxholes or in race cars.
I think this weekend, I’ll try to say Godspeed more often. And I hope it sparks a conversation I can have with whoever might ask what it means. Maybe I’ll get to tell them:
- Rejoice. God is in control.
- Be of good cheer. Christ died for you.
- Godspeed. He’s coming again. And just maybe, quicker than you think.
After all, the word could refer to a life or death circumstance. Godspeed — are you ready to meet Him?
Let me know your thoughts on this post.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER – 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful –can be purchased on Amazon here.
For more information on Kingdom Racing, visit the organization’s website here.
For more information on my former “basketball protégé” and professional racer Zach Veach, visit his website here.