Many of my earliest memories are of racing. Cars, people, animals. My family was into the speed.
I loved it, but it wasn't until I was in my teens that I really picked out a sport, and a little longer until I picked out a driver.
I picked Jeff Gordon because of his rainbow-colored car. I stuck with him because of his skill behind the wheel. Needless to say, he's been heavy in my nostalgia books for a long time now. For Christmas, my family would buy me Jeff Gordon merchandise. Stickers, lunch boxes, toys. All of which I still own. And sometimes they still get them for me.
The four-time cup champion called for a retirement in 2015. His career was highly successful, drawing in all sorts of fans and making their day every time he crossed the checkered line ahead of the pack. He's inspired countless young drivers to go out and do what they love-- to drive. The news was bittersweet to many, as nobody really wants to see their favorites retire.
But we can rest assured that he's made the most of his life and that the time we spent being his fans has not gone to waste. We've enjoyed so many memories with him that we'll be talking about for decades to come, each one spoken of with wild gestures and bright smiles. Your children might not get it, but the memory is yours. It'll never stop being a happy one.
It won't be easy to pick a new driver to hope for, and the chapter in Jeff's racing career might not always stay so shut, but that's a story for later. For now, let's hope that Jeff enjoys his retirement peacefully and pray that he doesn't miss the track that badly.
Who am I kidding? It's hard to imagine a guy like Jeff not missing the ovals more than anything.
It's not just us saying good-bye to Jeff. He's had to say good-bye to us as well.