I'm not quite sure what my assignment was when I wrote this. I think it was to describe an event in my life with multiple visual descriptions. Anyways, this event happens to be one of the most enjoyable times in my life. I'll never forget this day for it only happens once in a life time. And I am not even a race fan!
The view was amazing. As I scaled
the final slope I looked around me and saw a panorama of glittering towers. The
wind whistled in my ear as I stood in awe of the surrounding environment. Never
before had I seen such a spectacle. One of my colleagues shouted briskly, and
suddenly it sounded as if there were 4 of him shouting the same thing back at us
in a perfect rhythmical pattern. My once in a lifetime experience was finally
happening and at that point I started trembling with anxiety. Forgotten were the
events that preceded this point in my life, no longer did I know how or why I
was there. My mind went numb as the final realization kicked in, I was in the
center of the brand new NASCAR race track.
I was never a fan of NASCAR racing. I watched a couple races with my uncle here and there; but the fact that it was a bunch of vehicles driving in circles didn't exactly enthrall me. So when the new Texas Motor Speedway open just 35 miles away from my house, I never paid any heed to it. Yet that attitude changed one Monday morning while I was at my tedious band class. My band director was having his daily vilification of the insignificant French Horn section, when his office phone rang causing him suddenly to disappear into his office. Our bald-headed director rarely cracked a smile, so when he returned from his conversation with all teeth glaring I was quite suspicious. What he said next surprised us all. It turned out that a local car dealership had some connections to the NASCAR affiliation. When the affiliation posed the question of which band to hire to perform for the NASCAR 50th anniversary, our local dealership immediately volunteered my band. We were going to open the race by unfolding a 300 ft American flag along with a smaller flag with the words "Happy 50th Birthday NASCAR" etched on it. Of course even such a seemingly small task would need to be practiced, so we were to come on the Wednesday preceding the Sunday event to learn how to perform our task correctly. Since this was such a short notice my band director let us volunteer to go rather than force us to all go. My hand immediately raised and soon my once in a lifetime event had begun.
That Wednesday came in quite a hurry to say the least. I asked one of my non-band friends to come and help me since the required 70 volunteers could not be met with my meager band alone. As we approached the racetrack it suddenly dawned on me: We were going to perform in the center of the track, and since I had never seen a track personally I had no idea how we going to get into the center! My question was soon answered as we descended into an underground passageway beneath the track. The next 15 seconds seemed like hours to me. I remember ascending the slope of the passageway and the blackness of the tunnel dissipated into a bright glittering panorama of cement slopes. Every which way I turned I could see empty terraced cement. The beauty of it all was so tranquil and serene that I felt like I could dwell in this surrounding forever. The surprise of it all was magnified by its silence. Instead of roaring with the sounds of cars and people it was silent like an ancient mountain. The silence beckoned me, telling me I was safe surrounded by the cement steps and glittering seats. Never had I been in such a large outdoor stadium. I looked across to the other end and realized it was over a mile between me and the far end of the track. My friend yelled something and received multiple replies from imaginary doplegangers from various points around the track. Needless to say, the whole environment just held me in awe. I was in the biggest stadium to date, and it's vast empty realm was mine to roam to scour for the day. Yet this was just the very beginning of my first NASCAR experience.
It seemed as if everything was coming in "size large" that day. When our NASCAR agent came over to us with a 6 foot open crate, we were all stupefied. "This is the flag?" someone stated in disbelief. The 300 ft flag weighed 350 pounds when folded. I pondered how the NASCAR people first got it in the crate in the first place, since it looked like the crate was ready to fold under the flag's immense pressure. I found out my deduction was not too far off when the agent told us to clear away from the crate. With a pull of a single metal pin from the side of the crate the cube suddenly let out a great moan as the walls collapsed and feel to the ground. Minutes later the entire United States Flag was stretched out across the size of a football field. I had a death grip on the flag handle and was trying to keep the flag from being caught by the wind and blown away dragging me with it. We then laid the stretched flag on the ground and stood on it. At this time I noticed a rather large hump under the flag towards the other side of the flag. Our resident "class clown" had decided it would be funny to hide under the flag and run around under it. Of course, like all class clowns, he didn't think ahead before he acted. The sheer magnitude of the flag made it quite hard for him to find his way out. So for 10 minutes we coached from the sidelines this hump under the flag running around like a mouse under a rug. Finally he freed himself and we all had a great laugh at the event, while he had a great scolding from it.
Next the weirdest experience happened. We had to refold the flag to get it back in the crate, which by no means was an easy task. I had to take off my shoes and walk on the flag, which I was taught to be disrespectful, from one end to the other to fold it. This job sounds easier than it really was. Each time we traveled across the we halved the length of the flag. Therefore, it took quite a few passes to get the flag able to fit in a 6 foot crate. Unfortunately, it was quite a windy day that day. As we moved across the flag huge 12 foot swells would form under the flag. As I traveled across the flag, giant waves of red, white, and blue were slamming into me almost lifting me from the ground. It felt like one giant mountain that kept on growing each time I ascended further on it. Luckily I weighed more than some of the more unfortunate dupes. Their frail bodies lost the battle against the waves and were picked up from the ground and tossed like rag dolls. At one point as I was pulling my way over a wave and a freshman was hurled from his position in front of me and right into my path. I wish I could have seen the look on my face when a 100 pound body suddenly flew over a 10 foot swell right in front of me. I hurdled over the poor fellow and muttered "It's survival of the fittest" since it seemed as if it was a life and death situation. Never before had I realized something so benign as a flag being so dangerous to underclassmen. Seeing freshmen being swallowed whole by a 300 foot flag and regurgitated quite violently out the other end, that's a view one is not likely to forget. Luckily few injuries occurred during this stage in activity, and one thing was learned from it: Even the American Flag treats freshmen horribly. I assume freshmen have no real friends in this world.
After we performed the task of unfolding and refolding the flag a couple times (and after a few dozen bodies were slung into the air by giant red and white stripes), we were told we could go home and prepare for the real performance that Sunday. By this time the sun had just set. My eye was then re-attracted to the view that had caught it when I first arrived. The oval stadium was magnificently glowing a shiny red hue. It was as if every color of the sunset was reflecting off of the shiny seats right into my eye. The original anxiety that I felt earlier then returned. This time, it was not because of the new experiences I would soon have, but because of I knew the real experience had yet to come. As I departed down the slope of the tunnel to leave I turned around to catch one last glimpse of the beauty which had awe-stricken me earlier. At that point the sun dipped down below the stadium walls and the track turned completely black. The wonderful silence returned with the darkness. This time though, the silence had a new ring to it. No longer did it beckon me telling me of its safety. This time it almost was as if it was crying to us, saying goodbye. No other sound was heard in that stadium when we left. It's ominous dark silence inspired no one. I miss that day we spent at the Texas Motor Speedway. The following Sunday went wonderfully, but it didn't not have the same impact as it did before. I still look back to that Wednesday afternoon and imagine the serene beauty and silence of the magnificent Goliath, slumbering its days in anticipation of the great event soon to come. Never before had I been so at peace with my surroundings. It was truly my once in a lifetime experience.