By Del Duduit
Have you ever been blindsided by something that was not your fault?
Perhaps you are zinging through life at a breakneck speed, and the trophy is in sight.
Then out of nowhere, you crash into the wall at 230 MPH.
This is exactly what happened to Zach Veach this past Sunday at the Indianapolis 500.
The young man who I coached in fourth-grade basketball was in 12th place in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
He started the race in 28th and at one time was listed in fourth place with 59 laps to go.
He weaved in and out and was close to breaking back into the top 10.
But on lap 175 of 200, disaster happened.
Sabastian Bourdais and Graham Rahal’s cars touched wheels on turn three and started a chain reaction that crashed five cars, including Zach’s No. 26 Honda, into the wall.
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Just like that, he was out of the running to win.
His Twitter post later that night said it all.
“Such a solid day gone in an instant. Worked our way from 28th to 12 with 25 laps to go and just had no where to go with a crash in front of us…A bit banged up, but we’ll be ready for Detroit.”
I was there at the Brickyard covering Zach’s attempt to drink from the milk jug and kiss the bricks.
For a few moments, when I saw his name listed fourth with the end in sight, I became optimistic.
“He could pull this off,” I thought.
But when we saw the crash and heard immediately that Zach’s car was involved, we felt just the opposite. Disappointment.
Can you relate?
Not that you will ever be in a race car going 225 MPH into turn three at the IMS, but can you identify with instant discouragement?
I have experienced some disheartening moments in my life. Everyone has from the deaths of loved ones to mistakes that were their own. I have made many of them.
But what about the terrible things that happen to you that are not your fault?
How did you handle it?
Did you forget about it and move on, or did you let the problem fester and make you bitter?
I try to implement the following steps when I experience a crash that forces me into a wall:
- Accept what happened and release it over to God: You cannot change what took place, but you must deal with the issue. If it’s the death of a loved one, then mourn and grieve, but not forever. If a situation halts personal or professional progression, then learn from the wreckage. Time will be your friend. Zach can’t go back and relive the accident. It happened. He is moving on to the next race.
- Prioritize your expectations and evaluate the moment: Disappointment can become crippling if we let it fester. On the other hand, it can also teach humility. Misplaced hope leads to discouragement. To excel and want to win is natural. Zach didn’t qualify for the Indy 500 to finish 29th. He expected to win. He will have the same goal next year and in each race he enters in the future.
- Start your engines: Get going. After you have experienced something bad and you have looked back on the moment and learned, move on to the next race. There is no sense in wallowing and feeling sorry for yourself. You gave your best effort, and it didn’t work out this time – but keep going for the checkered flag. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)
I was glad to that Zach was okay after the crash. He was frustrated with the moment because it was out of his control, and he had worked hard before and during the race.
But he could not avoid someone else’s mistake. His attitude demonstrated that he had a good day, but the opportunity disappeared in a matter of seconds.
If you have worked hard for something, and it’s suddenly out of your reach, the best thing you can do is get back behind the wheel and zoom through life to win the race. You will be faced with pit stops, flat tires, and potholes. But run the race to win.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Corinthians 9: 24 KJV)
Zach will be back on the track this week in Detroit. He expects to win. Godspeed.
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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.