Category Archives: NASCAR

The car or the pole?

For a few days, I was traveling with my friend LuAnn Cahn as she does 30 dares in 30 cities to promote her book, “ I Dare me

One of those dares, was to be the Pit crew for a racing car from NASCAR in Morrisville North Carolina at the PIT school.

I was so excited I could hardly breathe as I am a fan of speed and nascar fascinates me to no end. My feet never touched the ground the entire time I was there because the thrill of this kept me floating.
Luann was being taped for a segment to be aired on WBTV in Charlotte, so I had all the time in the world to poke around and ask all kinds of questions of the pit crew until their poor heads spun! I wanted to know how long did it take for them to complete the school, how many of them landed in a NASCAR pit after this and most importantly, how many women had ever completed the program. The answer to the last question was two but neither made it to NASCAR. I got an immediate glint in my eye.

When I picked up a 70 pound tire with ease, those men looked at me differently and so when I was given the 3,400 pound race car to jack, we were all surprised when I did it with three pumps! They dropped that car several times and I jacked it right back up each time much to their awe and delight!

I was asked to consider taking the 8 week course because they had never met a woman of my strength level which is what they need for a pit crew in nascar.

My goal now is to do just that and I’m willing to see if I could be the first woman in a nascar pit crew. What do I have to lose? It is important that as women, we don’t limit ourselves especially if it’s something we have interest in. I always loved tinkering around in cars and my father taught me how to change a tire, oil and brakes but discouraged me from wanting to fix cars because it wasn’t a ” girlie” thing to do. I kept hanging around one Jamaican mechanic soaking up all that I could but he caught on and shooed me away too.

So one would think after doing something like this which was indeed pretty impressive, I could do anything right?

Wrong.

Later on that evening, we made reservations for something neither one of us had ever tried. Pole dancing exercise classes.

We walked into the studio and I took one look at the instructor who was perfect and said ” I don’t even think so!”
She slid over to a pole and launched her self up like a feline and did some of the most intricate moves I had ever seen and it left nothing to the imagination.

At this point, I’m beet red and told LuAnn there was no way, I was trying this thing.

In a deep part of me that I always thought was so open and free to explore all sides of life, I froze.

Not only did the thought of that pole was daunting me, I felt exposed and different and very uncomfortable.

I finally met my match. It was silver and shiny and cold and I wanted no parts of it.
I struggled with my heritage ( women of good stature in society would never do such a thing,) this is not something “good girls” do, it felt debasing, I was mortified on several levels and I worried about what my sons, love and my father would think! All of that ran through my head as I stood there fully limiting myself on purpose based on learned beliefs and in that moment, could not work my way past any of it.

I stayed long enough to do a few warm up exercises which were great and watched as LuAnn tried a few basic moves with Amanda the instructor.

What we recorded is something we are not quite sure we could upload anywhere publicly but it was funny that I spent an hour in an F-16 breaking all kinds of sound barriers, am ready to tackle race cars and got stumped by a pole. Literally.

I have to honestly say that I wondered how many people are quietly leaving their corporate jobs and hitting those poles because these places can be found in every major city in the country.
LuAnn had this observation as we discussed it-
” poles are associated with strip clubs and I while it takes an incredible amount of athleticism, we are in influential positions where we tell young women
To value their bodies and themselves. This seemed debasing. The stigma of the pole is still alive and well.”

We are on a journey to try new things. We went out of curiosity, got an eyeful and realized we just couldn’t go there. There is a part of me that felt hypocritical for encouraging others to face their fears and try new things only to find I did indeed have my own limits based on what I was raised to believe. I recognize I’m not the only one that feels this way but I also acknowledge there lies a deeper issue here of what is considered normal and acceptable in today’s society and those things we choose to follow blindly for whatever the reasons.

We do think women are fully reclaiming themselves in these studios and this requires a strength level and athleticism, I had not ever seen before.

To them, I say bravo.

I’m going back to “normal”
Things like flying in a fighter jet and seek introspection about the simpler things I just refused to try.

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