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Posts Tagged ‘role models’

I am new to Formula One, or really, to any sport fandom. I tend to get emotional about the things I care about, and I have done my level best to avoid the crushing sense of disappointment one feels when one wants something deeply, and does not get it. Elections are hard for me. Wanting things in general can be a challenge, and investing in outcomes over which I have no influence? Rough. 

Which is why it’s a big deal for me to join Team Hamilton. He’s worth it. 

Why? It’s not the winning. Ok, not only the winning. And it’s not just the fact that he reminds me of my favorite brother. It’s excellence. Hamilton is good at what he does, yes, but he has taken to winning while retaining a sense of the larger picture. 

* * *

Again, I’m new to the sport so it’s possible that I missed more formative, brasher years, but since I’ve been watching what I see is this: support for his team, especially those who are often unsung, support for worthy causes, good sportsmanship, and generally using his platform and profile for good.

Lewis is a 7-time world champion, of course, tied with Michael Schumacher to be the winningest F1 driver ever, but he also acts like it. 

As I dipped my toe into the F1 waters last year, Mr Man asked what I thought of the up-and-coming driver Verstappen. “Meh,” I said. “Why?” he asked. “He looks like he could win the championship.” True, I said, but I like Lewis. He is considerate to reporters and kind to fans, doesn’t project the sense of entitlement that some drivers wear like a second suit, rarely says “I” in interviews, makes a point to thank the team back at the factory, has succeeded despite not (like so many other drivers) being born to the sport, and is outspoken on human rights and other social issues. His rainbow helmet was a thing of beauty and likely did more to promote rights awareness than a year’s worth of articles. 

* * *

This year’s F1 car changes have put Mercedes at a distinct disadvantage. Unless they get those problems sorted, Hamilton may never win that next championship, the one that would break the tie for first and put him at the very top.

This year his helmet carries a quote from Maya Angelou: “Still, I rise.

And now I’m realizing what so many fans before me have: Despite the possibility, nay, likelihood, of disappointment, I’ll root for him anyway.*

His vision of excellence is worth it.

* * *

* I’m not the only one. I spotted Michelle Obama and George Lucas in the Mercedes garage today.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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