My Middle Name


How many times can you ride your motorcycle around in circles? Is “countless” a number? The summer of 1974 found me tucked in behind the handle bars of my Harley-Davidson X90, turning laps in the field by my house. No kidding, a stars and stripes helmet with a blue bubble face-shield protecting my dashing good looks and my bell bottom blue jeans and tennis shoes completing the ensemble. Mert Lawwill, you have nothing on me! All I wanted to do was race the Springfield Mile and at 12 years old it surely seemed possible.

When you’re a kid anything seems possible. Somewhere along the line as we got older we found it’s not as easy as it looks, and reality called and said we needed to get a job and stop riding in circles. I eventually raced a little, but not dirt track and definitely not at the professional level, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to. I think it’s more about timing and location rather than about desire. The desire has always been burning inside me, and even today I think I could go out and do whatever it is I want to do, dirt track included. Sure, I may hurt myself in the process, but that’s called danger, and when we were young, that was our middle name. For some reason my mother told me mine was Lamont.

 Sure, I may hurt myself in the process, but that’s called danger, and when we were young, that was our middle name. For some reason my mother told me mine was Lamont.

Those days of practicing and honing my riding skills came with a cost. Many blisters, a few broken bones and a host of scrapes was just another day of living the dream in becoming the top of the field (or at least the field by my house) in motorcycle racing. Many times, after planting myself into the ground from riding over my head, I would lie there in the dirt listening to the engine screaming as the throttle was stuck open. Dusty, dazed and confused and fully convinced bones were broken and afraid to move, I wondered how long an engine would run like that. A second later, after diagnosing myself, I would hop back to my feet and run over to shut it down. Checking the mechanical condition of my bike, away I would ride only to repeat the process. Nobody said it would be easy and I was having so much fun, why would I stop? How else would I get any better? Nowadays, I would probably lay there and let the motor blow.

Looking back over the years I have come to realize that anything is possible. It’s never too late and it’s all about doing what you love. Maybe those times while laying face down in the dirt after coming up short on a jump, throttle stuck wide open on my bike with the engine singing at the top of its lungs, it was trying to tell me something; Live your life wide open. Love with all your heart and chase after your dream because one day you just might catch it. Oh, and don’t get up, your leg is broken.

4 thoughts on “My Middle Name

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