My Dad has told me this story about a rocket car a few times and I think it’s a pretty good example of the entrepreneurial spirit. Let me set the stage, this must have taken place about 30 years ago, back when the ‘Need for Speed’ outweighed the ‘Need for Safety’, they might still do rocket cars, but I don’t think it’s a spectator sport anymore. Here it goes, from his point of view:
I was at this drag strip, I forget which one, maybe Sagas or Riverside, it doesn’t matter, but during intermission, like when they needed to give the regular drag racers some time to work on their cars they would let the ‘pretend drag’ racers go out and entertain the crowd. They had those races where they would pop a wheelie and go down the track and some other weird things like that.
Once, they had this rocket car, it was the only time I had ever seen it. It looked like a regular drag racer, except it had a big rocket engine strapped on the back. Well, they pushed it out there and got it to the line, fiddled with the controls a little and when it was ready to go…..Puff and nothing, just a big cloud of smoke and the car just sat there. They pushed it back to the pits.
Later in the night, intermission came and they pushed this thing out on the track again. The crowd laughed a little. They fiddled with the controls a little and when it was ready to go…..Puff and this time the car rolled a few feet and then stopped. The crowd really laughed, some fans were throwing things onto the track. They pushed it back to the pits.
Later that night, intermission came again and they pushed this thing out on the track again. This time the crowd laughed a lot, and they were throwing things down on the track. They fiddled with the controls a little and when it was ready to go…..A HUGE flame shot out of the back, and quicker than you can say ‘Holy Sh…’ this thing was gone. We’re not talking about top fuel drag racer fast; we’re talking about break the laws of physics fast.
The crowd stopped laughing, stood up and looked to the end of the track with their mouths wide open, nobody said a word.
Like I said, I only saw it once, boy, once they dialed it in, was it a sight to see.
I’ve heard this story a few times, it’s a good story.
It’s a good story to remember when your nose is to the grindstone and victory appears a long way off, when the skeptics are laughing and you have to push your dreams back to the pits.
It’s good to remember to fiddle with the controls ever so gently, because neither rockets nor businesses respond very well to being mishandled.
And lastly, it’s good to remember, no matter how much people laugh and mock you, you will need to push your dreams out of the pits again and again, but once you get it right, that single spark, you will be on your way and your skeptics will be just where you left them…Speechless.