Inspiration can strike at unexpected moments. I was unexpectedly inspired last Sunday while watching 17 year old Kallie Myers’ dramatic victory in the 75th All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, OH on TV. It was her final year of eligibility for the annual race, which she had entered - but failed to win - for the past 7 years. (Here’s an AP article about her victory!)
Since I grew up in Tallmadge, OH, a nearby suburb, I actually have a lot of childhood memories of that race. I can still vividly remember the buzz as the competition approached each year, and everyone began planning how to build the fastest, most aerodynamic car.
After winning the first heat of the day, Kallie was unfortunately rammed into by another racer. The scare from that accident didn’t deter her, however, from getting back into her car and competing in the final race - which she ultimately won.
You could sense Kallie’s overwhelming excitement while watching her celebrate her victory. Her spirit was absolutely contagious, and I’m sure she has no idea how many smiles she put on the faces of people like me - watching from their living rooms. I really admire how Kallie was able to find the courage to get back in that car. We all need to let go of our fears if we expect to put all we have into pursuing our dreams. And like Kallie, we need to appreciate the people who help us accomplish our goals, as Kallie acknowledged publicly the grandmother that encouraged her to continue entering the race year after year.
Congratulations, Kallie. You’re a real inspiration!