By John Basher
Some readers are upset when I write about my children
in “Basher’s Space.” I understand that MXA is a magazine
about motocross, and therefore I should stick to topics relating to the sport. I also realize that no one, including my dear
wife, wants to read about Mickey Mouse or diaper-changing.
Perhaps I should explain my motives for writing about my
sons Brayden and Declan. If you don’t have kids, then I have
empathy for you, but if reading about my kids offends you,
then so be it. You will understand the strong relationship
between motocross and parenthood when your time comes.
I started riding motocross relatively late by most standards.
It wasn’t until I was 12 that I was introduced to motorcycles,
and I began racing a year later. Back then I had several
general interests—baseball, tennis and skiing—but I lacked
direction. Any improvement was made through repetition
and happenstance. Motocross changed that. I wanted to get
better, so I practiced every chance I got. I became devoted to
“MOST KIDS THOUGHT THAT
MOTOCROSS WAS COOL. THEY
ASKED ABOUT MY RACING
ENDEAVORS AND WANTED TO
KNOW IF I COULD DO ANY TRICKS.
SURE, SOME LAUGHED AT THE
FOX 180 PANTS I WORE DURING
CAREER DAY. I FIGURED THEY
WERE JUST JEALOUS.”
By no means was I a bad kid. Sure, I was called to the
principal’s office a few times, but I was usually guilty by
association. I had two kinds of friends in school—well behaved
and troublemakers. Junior high is generally where kids
choose their path. While I enjoyed learning, I didn’t want to be
labeled a geek, so I showed a rebellious streak in order to fit
in. It didn’t take a genius to see that getting picked on caused
animosity, anxiousness and trepidation. I didn’t want to be
ridiculed, so I blended in with the crowd—good or bad.
Things changed after I was introduced to motocross.
Soon after learning how to ride, I decided that standing
out from my peers was the better way to go. My wardrobe
consisted of motocross T-shirts, and I often wore my racing
jersey to school (a true fashion faux pas these days). Most
kids thought that motocross was cool. They asked about
my racing endeavors and wanted to know if I could do any
tricks. Sure, some laughed at the forest-green-and-fuchsia
Fox 180 pants I wore during Career Day. I figured they were
just jealous. Motocross made me immune to their ribbing.
Motorcycles empowered me. The sport also forever changed
my life’s ambition.
Before motocross came along, I strived to fit in, graduate
with decent grades and pursue a career in sports journalism.
Once riding was in my blood, my whole approach to
surviving through my formative years changed. I put more
focus on schooling, because my parents refused to let me
ride if my grades dropped. I became more accountable.
Instead of launching spit wads at my friends in study hall, I
buried my nose in books. Less after-school homework meant
more time for riding. As a result, my grades improved, along
with my riding skills. I picked up a job doing lawn maintenance
for my grandfather during summer months to pay for my bike
and race entries. I learned how to manage money. While
others in my class spent their Saturday nights mulling around
town, I went to bed early so I was ready to race the next
morning. I prioritized, made decisions and focused on goals.
My life’s ambition also changed. I realized that stick-and-ball
sports journalists were a dime a dozen. I wanted to write
I hit my peak as a motocross racer when I was 30 years
old. Then my oldest son, Brayden, came into my life. I
stopped racing as much. When I did, I was slower and out
of shape. That’s because the majority of my weekends were
spent at parks and playgrounds while my competition kept on
racing. At first I felt like I was missing out. Then it dawned on
me that my son would only be a baby for a little while, and
he would be grown up in the blink of an eye. Racing could
wait. In that span I haven’t become complacent to the idea
of racing; far from it, actually. Spending time with my boy
made me relish every moment I’m at the track. Suddenly I
had renewed interest for a sport that had become rather
monotonous before Brayden came along.
Now I have two boys—Brayden and Declan. The desire to
provide for my offspring has intensified, as has my passion
for motocross. I await the day my sons and I ride together
for the first time. It won’t matter whether it is within the next
year or a decade from now. My dad exposed me to the sport,
and it changed my life. I’ll offer the same opportunity to my
boys. Motocross might not do for them what it did for me,
but at least they’ll experience the thrill of twisting the throttle.
There are worse things in life.
My boys, just like the sport of motocross, are part of who I
am. Many of you live for the weekend. Me? I also live for the
weekend, just as long as it’s with Brayden and Declan. Sure, I
yearn for the day both boys want to go riding with their father
and experience the joy of motocross. If they’re not interested
in riding motorcycles, I’ll support whatever they do find a
passion for. Hopefully they learn to embrace who they are
as a result. That’s what I did. I’m not sorry for loving
motocross, just as I’m not sorry for writing about my kids
in my column. Enjoy the ride, and be safe.