Sorry I’m late. It’s been a busy past couple days for Emily and me. We headed up to Port Perry early on Sunday morning for the really nice Celebration of Life for Jeff McConkey.
I would just like to say thank you to everyone who was able to get to the community centre yesterday afternoon. It was really nice and cathartic to be around like-minded people who were all happy to have had Jeff in their lives.
A few of us got up to speak and I was honoured to have been one of them. I didn’t prepare a speech and I was worried I was going to spew on for the entire afternoon, but I managed to cut myself short.
Jeff and I had many adventures together and I was really looking forward to many more over the next bunch of years. Unfortunately, Jeff was so unhappy with himself that he was unable to see the light at the end of his tunnel.
The more I learn of his history, the sadder I feel for him. No, ending it is never the answer, but I learned what some of the underlying reasons for a lot of his troubles and unhappiness were. Accessing the tools to cope with such things is the important part.
I feel that we all need to learn something from this tragedy that we’re seeing much too often these days. No, he wasn’t about to hop on a phone and call a help line, that just wasn’t going to happen. So, when we say we need to seek out help when we are down, it goes a whole lot deeper than that.
I feel we need to have deeper conversations with each other than we’re having. Of course, the same can likely be said throughout history, but I think we’ve hit an all-time low in interpersonal, REAL communication.
It seems like the more we’re able to reach out and contact someone on social media the more isolated and alone some of our more vulnerable are feeling.
And the fact that everyone knows what everyone else is doing in real damn time is screwing with everyone’s motivation for doing anything in the first place.
“Photos or it didn’t happen” is the cliché but what does that really mean? It means bullshit, is what it means! Sorry.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the coolest people DO NOT have to tell you how cool they are. Read that again, please.
I challenge everyone to leave their homes without their smart phones tomorrow. Hell, let’s start a movement. Go do something fun and enjoy it simply for the sake of doing it…for yourself. Not because you want everyone to know you did it, but because you actually wanted to do it. Crazy concept, eh?!
I’ve completely “tangented” out of control here, but that’s OK because this is my column to do so.
I’m going to miss Jeff and it’s going to feel pretty lonely around here for a while. The motocross community was extremely important to him, so, of course, we’ll move on, we have to, but it’s not going to make it feel any better.
We heard a bunch of funny stories from his friends he went to high school with and it made me smile. Jeff was a fun-loving guy with some demons lying beneath the surface.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to see that there were better days ahead. He only saw darkness and that’s what makes me sad. The fact that he hit such a low point that he wasn’t able to see the happiness that lay in front of him is what keeps me wanting to have one more conversation with him.
Hug your loved ones, everyone.
I also left without thanking Dave Bell for all the work he did putting the slide show together and setting up all his sound equipment. Damn, the motocross industry is filled with some solid people!
I’d also like to thank Brad Coles over at Label It for making the souvenir “McConkey 739” stickers. Brad was at the World Vet MX Championships at Glen Helen. I noticed a couple DNF’s beside his name, so I hope everything is OK with him.
Thanks to Jeff’s sister, Karen, and his mom for keeping me involved in the proceedings.
Thanks to Kristy Kiff for having a bunch of Jeff’s high school and local friends over after the service. I “tended” bar for a while and got to chat with an awful lot of them. We shared stories and laughed a lot. It was great.
I hope I didn’t say too much, but it’s been an strange rollercoaster ride of emotions. I think I’m going through every stereotypical phase that goes along with these types of tragedies, and I may have just dragged you along for the ride. Sorry about that.
Let’s move on to some more uplifting things…
If you haven’t had the chance to go through all the results from the 35th Annual Dubya World Vet MX Championships at Glen Helen yet, you can do so here:
We even had a few Canadians take championships this year! Congratulations to everyone who made the trip to California for this event and a special kudos to those who are bringing World Titles home with them!
In the top class, #777 Tim Tremblay took 3rd pace behind winner Mike Alessi and Mike Brown. This may be an event I have to try and get to in 2020!
It looks like Team Canada ISDE has made it over to Portugal for the 2019 ISDE. Dusty Heacock is over there supporting his son, Ryder Heacock, and said that the guys have been busy walking the tests so far over there.
It’s going to be a great 6 days of racing and you can follow along with their progress over at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TeamCanadaIsde/
and their Instagram page
By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Tanner Ward is making the move over to the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team for 2020 and beyond.
Tanner will be their 250 guy and Dylan Wright moves up to the 450 class. They’ve also secured young super-talent Ryder McNabb for his Intermediate season.
It’s great to see them take a younger rider under their wing and groom him for his future as a Pro rider. It’s a system that is needed here in Canada and should see our top younger riders progress more smoothly into the Pro ranks.
OK, it’s almost dinner time here, so we’ll leave things there for the week. We were stuck in 401 traffic today from Milton to almost Highway 8 in Waterloo. If you know the area, you know that sucks!
Have a great week, everyone.