Off the Cuff with Jacqueline Ross | Presented by LP Orthopedics

By Jacqueline Ross

Presented by LP Orthopedics

Greetings Humans!

Normally, my columns seem to take on the roll of being upbeat and exciting.  This month’s hits on a whole other tempo. For me, anyway.  I was a bit hesitant at first in my decision to write about what you are about to read.  I wasn’t sure if I  would be able to put the emotions of what I experienced into words, let alone have it all make sense and have a purpose.  As uncomfortable as this was for me, I knew it was exactly what I needed to write.  Deep breath, here we go…

A few months ago I had received a phone call on behalf of a rider from Puerto Rico coming to train with me.  Of course, I was stoked for this opportunity!  With high hopes that everything would come together, plans were made, and here comes one  of my newest lil homies…Fabian!  He arrives at Mesa Motocross Park with his father and close friends of the family.

Sure, we have a bit of a language barrier, but his father’s friend Hector is playing the role of the translator. His English is fantastic, way better than my Spanish! 

As soon as Fabian starts riding, I notice how great his form is on the 
bike.  He’s in control and very smooth. We start in and things are going great.  He has an awesome attitude and a willingness to do whatever it takes to improve himself and his riding.  Execution is key and he’s unlocking and opening the doors! 

We put in six hours of solid riding and corner work.  I also learned a few Spanish words and became fluent with telling him, ‘Buen trabajo,’ which means, good job!!

The next day we pick up where we left off and he is just on fire. It’s incredible to watch the progression that was made within the last 24 hours!  We’re a few hours into the training session and he’s out doing a moto.  There is a tabletop in the front section at Mesa, right out of a corner. He had started clearing this out of the inside line in the corner.   Anyone that has cleared this jump knows your corner speed has to be blazing and you must be fully committed, especially, on an 85cc! 

Well, as the track got rougher and rougher, the ruts up the face of this jump in particular were getting deeper and deeper.  I’m sure you’re getting a feel of where this is heading.  Just typing this out, I’m getting the lump in my throat.  

This is the first time in my life where one of my riders have had a nasty crash.  Unfortunately, from where I was standing, I wasn’t able to see how he landed, but I heard the scream, and I just knew this was not good.  I have the world of empathy for him as that same scream has come from me numerous times when I’ve had a bad crash.  Now as coach, I’m on 
other side of the fence.  Not literally speaking, but metaphorically.  I’m not the one laying on the track with the physical pain, I’m now the one that’s running over to get to him. 

I get to Fabian and I can just see the heart and the toughness in his eyes.  He’s doing his best to stay strong.  I tell him ”we’re going to get through this,” but I’m gutted for him.  To witness someone in so much pain and agony and not be able to help…I guess this must be what all parents go through and feel when their kid gets hurt, no matter if it’s riding a dirt bike or falling off a bicycle.  You just want to be able to help, but there’s nothing you can do to stop the pain.  It demands to be felt.

Three days later, Fabian is in good spirits and back at the track with his family and close friends.  He’s not riding his KTM 85, he’s got a new set of wheels and gear: a walker and a soft casted walking boot.  His father tells me, ”He still wants to ride and race again.”  Of course he does.  He has the heart of a champion.  A broken femur won’t hold this kid down for any longer than it has to.  I don’t need a translator for the emotions of heart and desire. I can sense when I’m around someone who embodies them.

Injuries come with life, not just this sport.  We get knocked down, only to get back up, come back stronger and fight harder the next round.  When you put yourself in those positions outside your comfort zone and are willing to risk it all in pursuit of your worthwhile endeavor, there’s something to be said for that.

Some people go their entire life and never experience what they truly could become.  They choose to allow themselves to be held back by their past hurts, disappointments, shortcomings, and the mental monster of fear. Everyone is afraid of something, but not everyone will choose to be brave and have the courage to keep moving forward against all odds. 

P.s. Fabian, Hasta Pronto!