Whatever It Takes To Believe

Hi Pat,

As I have often said, for your self-proclaimed “biggest fan,” I sure can be a slacker. I totally missed this awesome interview with you that was published online on September 21st. You were featured in PorschePurist.com‘s Great Drivers series. I loved this one – some really good food for thought here.

My favorite quotes come from the bit at the end where they’re asking if you listen to music or have any pre-race rituals. I’ve asked that question myself several times on this very site. Here’s what you said about music:

You won’t find me listening to music in the car or on the grid or any of that. I don’t think that it would hurt; it’s just one of those things that I’ve never wanted to depend on to get myself in the right mindset. I never want to be dependent on anything other than what I have in my brain, which is the only thing you’re guaranteed to have at all times!

And what about pre-race rituals?

Hydration, nutrition and rest are what gives me my peace of mind. I think there is no right or wrong way to prepare yourself for a race. I tell people to do whatever it takes for them to believe that they’re well-prepared.

And there it is. Amazigly simple, really. I know something about how this works from having to get into performance mode as a professional musician for many years. I wouldn’t say I had rituals, but I definitely had my habits which I developed and maintained: turn off and stash the cell phone, no eating within an hour of show-time, take a pee last thing before going on stage, things like that. No real rituals or lucky charms or anything. I had my particular “stuff,” a certain rosin for good bow-to-string traction, extra strings, a certain type of orchestra mute, a spare bridge. I had friends who would only wear certain shoes, tuck a rabbit’s foot in their pocket, and be swilling Red Bull and belching as we walked out on stage. Regardless, we each need to do whatever it takes to believe we are prepared. If you think you need a rabbit’s foot in your pocket, by all means, take your rabbit’s foot! If you believe you need it and you don’t have it, you think you’re not prepared. And if you think you’re not prepared, well, then you are definitely not prepared. And I think that’s what you mean about only needing what you are sure to have – your brain! LOVE that. LOVE it.

I also loved knowing what I suspected, that you have a long memory, and if somebody bashes you today, they need to just know with 100% certainty it’s coming back on them. Maybe not today, maybe not this season. But it’s coming back. Hee!

Life is getting a bit nuts, but it’s all going to be OK. I’m so looking forward to this Sunday, my last autocross of the season. I’m out of the running for all the club rookie awards, but that wasn’t in the cards for me this year. Oh, you know I loved what you were quoted as saying in that article about the perspective on races where you didn’t podium this year. You got condolences after Sebring, but you didn’t allow yourself to have your experience defined by the same rule-set. You are so, so wise in this. Energy devoted to negativity is usually wasted. Worry? Pffft. Waste. You have found the way inside yourself to keep a perspective in which you are always on top, always winning by your own expectations, even if some weeks, “winning” does not involve standing on the podium. Very, very wise, young man!

Be well, take care,


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