My youngest son has been riding dirt bikes since he was three years old. He could ride a dirt bike before he learned how to ride his bicycle. He spent exactly one week with training wheels before he begged to have his father take them off. For hours he would ride circles around our yard, so desperate to keep going he would pee in his pants so he didn’t have to stop and use the bathroom.
Eventually we went from this circling the yard, pants peeing activity to practicing at a real live sand track in our area. Which, according to the professionals, is one of the toughest motocross tracks in Canada. As a family we were pretty new to this whole dirt bike, motocross, racetrack thing. My husband had been riding, he was no stranger to it but the rest of us, well it was pretty frightening at first. I was waiting for my son, who was four by this point; to ride himself into some fiery crash, break every bone in his body or worse. But in reality he started off going so slow my husband could run beside him.
When we put him into his first race, he was 5 years old and cried the whole way to the start gate he was so afraid. I of course wanted to pull him out and take him home, back to riding around the safety of our large yard. But my husband gave him a pep talk, wiped away his tears and stood with him at the starting line waiting for his turn. Watching this race was actually so cute and stressful, can’t forget the stressful. Cute because they were all so little, just chugging along the track, sometimes slowing down to a crawl to get around the corners. Stressful because my son didn’t understand the flags yet and didn’t want to get off when the checkered flag was flapped in front of him. We would have to race to the finish line to make sure he got off lest he be stuck on the track when the next set of racers (the bigger bikes) came along. He would meet us back at our trailer, huge smile on his face and ask if he won. Clueless. He had no idea what position he was in; he was just out there riding.
That same race weekend my son had made a new friend. This new friend loved to push his bike to the limit, which caused him to fall, a great deal. Well during the second race in the afternoon this little guy fell in front of my son. So seeing his friend down my son stopped, dropped his dirt bike, ran over to make sure his friend was okay then proceeded to try and start his bike for him. Once he was off and running my son went back to his own bike and couldn’t get it started. Someone came along finally and helped him out. He didn’t quite get the concept that he was in a “race”. When the coordinators of this race weekend heard about this act of good sportsmanship they were really impressed. So while my son didn’t win a trophy the weekend of his introduction to motocross racing, he was pulled up in front of everyone and awarded the first and only Good Sportsmanship Award this racing circuit had ever given which consisted of a brand new helmet (they are expensive, so this was a pretty big deal) and acknowledgement of his good deed. It was really unheard of for a racer to stop and help another rider during a race, thus losing his position. But to a little kid, who’s just checking to make sure his new friend is okay, it really seemed a no brainer.