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The Real Deal: Tommy D’Aprile On Attitude

How many of you can say that you have a pretty good attitude? Now, I know that for me a good attitude is something I have to choose daily as circumstances will try to steal my joy if I allow them to. When someone says they “have an attitude,” it is usually in a negative manner. The word attitude is seldom associated with a positive meaning. I guess it’s time to call myself out on this subject. 

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #186, the Photo Annual Issue, in Jan/Feb of 2024.]

I was at a race recently where my son was competing, and I always remind him to keep a good attitude on race days. We started the day with a new set of tires on the car, and right away I noticed on the first run the car was not behaving as it usually does. The second run was much the same and inconsistency cost him the race. 

For the next race day, I decided to lower the starting line launch and make a tire pressure adjustment. During the first run, the car had no starting line rev limiter and again he had to abort the run. Turns out the MSD chip was bad. All I had to do was check it before we went up for that run and I would have noticed the issue and fixed it. I was so mad at the fact that I didn’t perform this simple task of checking to see if the starting line RPM chip worked. 

So, you could say my attitude, or bad attitude at that point, was controlling my thoughts. It was my son that said, “Hey, you never know, maybe that was supposed to happen,” as he just shrugged off the mistake. Right there, I realized that I was making a big deal out of nothing and allowing the mistake to dictate my bad attitude. We didn’t do well in the race, but after that incident I realized that it was my choice to enjoy the day or not. 

Most days I am faced with a circumstance of some sort that will try to steal my joy. I’m sure most of you know exactly what I mean. It takes a mature person to stop and think of how good they have it even when things aren’t going their way. That is called the right perspective and something I am learning to apply every day. 

Getting back to the races, we always see an array of emotions with round wins and round losses. We give that stupid little win light power to control us in a mighty way. There is a dad and daughter that race at our home track, and let me tell you, this girl is just the sweetest person ever. She always wears a smile even when she loses. One person came up to her at a race recently and said, “I can never tell if you won or lost because you are always happy.” Her reply was simply this: “I love every day and I’m not about to allow losing a round of racing to make me angry.” Recently, she won a big race and her smile was the same as when she lost a round. 

So, let me ask you, how do you act when the win light of life doesn’t come on? There is a choice you have to make about where you allow your emotions to go, and that choice as always, is yours to make.

This story was originally published on March 29, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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