Off the Cuff with Jacqueline Ross

By Jacqueline Ross

Greetings, Humans!

Only 21 weeks and 4 days till Christmas! Random, I know, but seriously this year is flying by!  Here is something that is not random.  It is a word used in the form of a noun or adjective and is a constant in every individual’s life on a daily basis.  This word, in my opinion is significantly underrated.  Drum roll, please, for the word of every day is, “CHOICE.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Choice as “an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.”  Great description, however, those are just words.  Allow me to introduce to you one of my students.  A kid who is the 3D, living version of the word “choice.” 

Jacqueline with Axel Slavin.

Axel Slavin, aka, ”The Challenge Master,” as I like to call him.  When I first met Axel, I thought he was going to show up with a dirt bike and a guitar.  Our first lesson took place at his property about a year-and-a-half ago.  He was riding a CRF50 at the time.  The lesson started with him ripping around a grass pasture and whiskey throttling himself into the side of the barn.  Bound and determined he got up, brushed himself off, and back on the bike he went.  I thought to myself, “this is one tough kid.” 

He now rides a Husqvarna 50 and just completed his first motocross series with I-4MX!  Oh yeah, and before I get to where I’m going, let me tell you all a little bit more about Axel.  He faces personal adversities on a daily basis. You see, Axel suffers from Absence seizures and Tourette’s Syndrome,  meaning he has no control over how or when these adversities will happen, but he chooses how he responds to them.  Pretty impressive for a 7-year-old.  Keep this in mind.  We’re getting to the good stuff.   

At the halfway point in the I-4MX series, Axel had a few top 10 finishes and was in 12th place in the overall standings for the 50cc Beginner class.  That wasn’t sitting too well with the young ripper.  With that being said, Axel put his head down and decided to turn it up a few notches.  He made different “choices.”  He set a few goals, decided to work harder, be more competitive, practice more, and to keep having a great attitude. Everyone has heard the saying, “hard work pays off.”  It most certainly did!  A great accomplishment and comeback was made by the man himself.

Each race weekend got better and better and a few weeks ago, Axel achieved his first race win!  The Challenge Master finished the I-4MX Series with a 4th place in the overall standings.  Here is a kid that since birth has been facing personal challenges on a daily basis. Does he complain or use them as an excuse or scapegoat as to why he can’t do something?  No!  He chooses to learn, rise above, and overcome them the best he can.  Well done, Axel.  You’re not just winning motocross races, you’re winning at life!

Reflecting on Axel’s journey and progress over the past year-and-a-half is beyond inspiring.  It also brings to light how our daily ”choices” impact our lives.  It’s amazing how much we can learn from a kid and I am grateful to work with so many awesome ones!  

Next time when your life gets challenging and you’re faced with a choice to make what will you do?  Keep going or quit?  Work harder or lower your standard? Set a new goal or settle?  Beat the odds or be content? Remember, we live the results of the choices we make.