Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Benny, I hardly knew ye!

Pacific time zone, Sirius radio, and the news came early (for us.) Benny Parsons had passed away.

I found myself to be strangly, deeply lost. I had no idea why, I just felt as if a small part of my life was missing.

Then, as I left for work, I plugged in my Sirius radio, and listened to countless testimonials about Benny. At first, I was sure that I would get tired of all of the tributes, but hours and hours later, I was still tuned in.

There was something captivating when listening to the countless descriptions of how Benny impacted the lives of drivers, owners, NASCAR officials, and fans. I heard countless tales of Benny taking the time to talk, really talk, to fans. I heard how he bought tickets for fans to let them into their first race. I heard how he doted on a young, ill child visiting the track on his last adventure.

One common thread among all of the conversations was that Benny was real, Benny cared, Benny never forgot a face, and Benny went out of his way to help, but never asked for recognition.

Late this afternoon, I heard NASCAR drivers at Fanfest talking about Benny. Those drivers all need to work really hard to take in Benny's lessons. They especially should take the lesson of how Benny's fans all walked away from meeting Benny thrilled, and proud to have Benny as an idol. Those drivers all have a long way to go to walk in Benny's shadow.

As we all travel on life's journey, we hope that we have a positive impact on someone, somewhere. Benny had a huge impact. He will be missed by so many folks, at so many levels.

Rest in Peace, Benny, I sorrow that I did not know how much I would miss you.