Missing My First Indianapolis 500 in Twelve Years

I recognize the struggles this pandemic has placed on the world. I am a recent university graduate. March 15th, 2020 marked my last day. I have always been a planner, so you better believe that I had things in line for a spectacular exit from my post-secondary career but…things didn’t work out that way. Job opportunities were pulled, and I was left wondering: what am I supposed to do now? I traveled home from Chicago to the small town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There, I applied for jobs and kept my ear to the ground for any news involving professional sports.

Then, all at once, the announcements came: cancelled.

Sportswise, IndyCar has always been my first love. In 2006 I attended my first 500, watching Marco Andretti miss out on a rookie year win to Sam Hornish Jr., in the third closest finish in history. When I left the track that day, I was so sure I would be the first woman to win the Indy 500. As I grew older that changed. I began to discover who I was and what my skills were. I entered the world of sports communications, but I still held onto that childhood ambition and in turn, have dreams of working in IndyCar PR.

All of that to say…hearing about the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Long Beach in March was not what I wanted. The decision was understandable; it’s what the world needed. The drivers, teams and fans alike have a responsibility to help stop the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t gutted.

Soon after the cancellation and schedule change announcements, my open-wheel racing viewing habits changed. I was now invested in iRacing. I had Twitch open, while watching the NBC Sports broadcast. I mean, I felt like a real gamer even though I wasn’t participating myself. (By the way, Conor Daly’s streams were the best).

As the months dredged on with no IndyCar and still no job, I began to grow anxious. Like most, I felt I wasn’t doing enough. This discouragement then shifted to positivity as I was offered a job. Finally! Sports were re-opening; IndyCar was set to run the 500 with fans and I was going back to Chicago.

Three-weeks before the 500, I was set to start my new job and preparing to attend my 14th 500 (I missed one in 2007), but then the announcements came again: cancelled for fans.

So, here I am… no chance of being present for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” I know that this has to happen to protect the health and safety of thousands of race fans, and I was actually a bit relieved hearing that IndyCar was committed to keeping Indianapolis safe, but I will miss it.

There is nothing like an Indy 500.

So yes, I feel relieved, I feel sad, nostalgic, but most importantly I feel determined. I am determined to work as hard as I can during this period of reflection and that is one of the reasons, I am starting this blog. I want to help spread the word of IndyCar and share my experience as a fan of one of the most competitive racing series in the world.

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