Tag Archives: Valentino Rossi is the best

One Note Samba

29 Dec

rossiI cracked open a fortune cookie years ago and looked over my shoulder, sure that the author was perched a few tables behind me, typing the most pertinent truth for each noodle-slurping customer in the shiny, redone Vietnamese restaurant. I was clearly the girl with glasses and carefully, carelessly knotted scarf, seated with the bespectacled ice sculpture of a man who was smiling faintly at my commentary. There was only one fortune for me:

“Joys are often the shadows cast by sorrows.”

Damn straight. I posted the rectangle of paper on my bedroom mirror and patched its meaning into my permanent understanding of the world.

Even though some guy in a factory in Pennsylvania probably penned this observation, I really commend him on his ability to harness the subtlety of eastern philosophy. Joy would definitely never be equated with a grim shadow in western optimism’s seven habits of successful smilers. But the truth of the analogy is entirely accurate. Sometimes only in light of sadness can we see a glimmer of a grin.

Earlier this evening, in the manner of my habit since childhood, I finished reading one book and immediately picked up a new one. The first of these was a memoir about tremendous loss, and the second is a hammily translated autobiography of Italian Moto GP racing legend Valentino Rossi. I confess that as I wiped away tears still glistening in reflection of the pursuit of hope in the aftermath of death, I was barely suppressing a grin as my gaze slid over the visage of Rossi on the dust jacket of the barely-touched used copy of his book. Who can frown when Rossi’s around?

That fortune cookie writer had me pegged. He had me “pinned and wriggling on the wall,” as Prufrock seethes in my risky mantra. For me, the greatest joys in life have arrived as a curtain call to sorrow. I used to specialize in sadness, and now I am the girl who laughs way too damn hard at episodes of Frasier. I grew up in a family that bonded via lamentation and now I am the girl who suggests we go see This is 40 after I have a pseudo anxiety attack during a post-holiday retail excursion. These days, in the shadows cast by sorrows, I would rather laugh than cry. I would rather laugh because I’m about ready to cry.

Love Me, Love My MotoGP

30 Sep

It was all asphalt and tiny specks of color looping through turns the first time. I sat uncomfortably close to relative strangers on a tiny vintage sofa in an apartment too intimately shared by a fighting couple and their scrappy microscopic dog. We stared together, six of us (well, five, after sullen girlfriend opted for a nap), for more than an hour, counting twenty-some-odd laps around a circuit I don’t remember. I was the new girlfriend then, and I had no idea that after a series of sharp turns and high-speed crashes, the best thing I’d take from that relationship was a profound love for MotoGP. We’re talking so profound that I’d actually consider getting a tattoo of a neon yellow “46” in honor of champion rider Valentino Rossi—and I do NOT do tattoos. (As Unrequited says, “I don’t need tattoos. I have a personality.”)

Six years later, watching the race in Aragon this morning, I realized how much my view of the races has changed since that first encounter. Now I don’t see asphalt, I see corkscrews and chicanes. I don’t see specks of color, I see personalities, teams, and bikes representing varying degrees of technical achievement. What was only a field of confusion to a newbie years ago is now a comforting day spent in the paddock with friends.

The fact is, it’s been a long time since that relatively uncomfortable first date, and I am more in love than ever. My behavior shows all the signs of utter devotion. I mention MotoGP’s name in just about every conversation. I daydream about MotoGP during work, and find it hard to get back to editing articles about technology after a lunchtime dalliance with MotoGP. I cook dinner for MotoGP’s commentators while they regale me with stories of races past (from my laptop screen). I even sleep next to a framed portrait of the late Marco Simoncelli, who broke our hearts in a race catastrophe last year in Malaysia.

Maybe most significantly, though, I’ve realized that MotoGP is a permanent part of my life. Every year, I procure the somewhat pricey online video pass so I can stream the test runs, interviews, and races (girl doesn’t own a TV, and would never pay for gallons of cable when all I want is the Speed channel… oh and the Tennis channel… and maybe the YES Network). This is the foundation of a very important relationship in my life. I’m willing to commit the time and energy required to truly understand my MotoGP.

Lately, various conversations in my life have looped back to the home straight of whether and why and when I will fall in love again. My constant refrain is that my focus this year is on everything but that question. But this avoidance of the topic has led many to speculate that I suffer from a fear of commitment. In fact, these many have additionally posited that the reason I’ve chosen such terrible partners and found fault with marvelous ones is due to my own fear of commitment.

So, I’m willing to admit this is a possibility. And I’m trying to read a book on the topic, but I can’t seem to… commit. Because frankly, in the first chapter, where they describe the horrors of those who cannot commit, the authors stipulate that often a lack of tenacity spreads to every aspect of life. Commitmentphobes, they say, can’t even choose a place to live or settle into one job. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say that I have had the same editor job for 15 years (hey, running a magazine is a pretty nice occupation), I only lived in one apartment for the duration of my time in Brooklyn, and I still own my apartment in Salt Lake City (would you like to rent it?).


I’ve only been in Fort Worth for four months now, but I already know that my apartment and I are in a long-term relationship. I hung up my crazy vintage Danish modern cantilevered bookshelves, friends, and that action is best equated with a diamond in terms of “forever.”

If commitment is a willingness to devote large portions of your life to the pursuit of understanding another, then I point to MotoGP. Where some see only spiraling asphalt, I see beauty and depth. And what the races give back to me is excitement and passion. We are in this for the long-term. Every time MotoGP cuddles up next to me on the sofa, I think fondly about our past, and look giddily forward to our future. After all, Rossi’s back on Yamaha next year!!


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