If you have ever seen Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, you know the famous quote of “If you ain’t first, you're last.” Well I decided at a very young age that I was going to live by this saying. I still believe it to this day… well most days. Let me tell you about a time where trying to be first made me dead last.
My family, some other farmers, and a few friends of mine went down to San Antonio, Texas for the Commodity Classic. This is an agronomy and agriscience convention held every year in a different location. Now, this particular place, San Antonio, is a place where walking is much easier than driving. The small roads and abundance of people make it hard to get around in a vehicle. There was one problem. I don’t like walking everywhere. Thankfully the city has these wonderful things called “Bird Scooters.” So, a couple of farm kids from Indiana decide that their main way of transportation is going to be these scooters. We download the app, put our credit cards in the system, and then start riding our way to a 255 dollar scooter bill by the end of the weekend.
Throughout the 4 days we were in San Antonio, we had learned pretty much every street, sidewalk, and alley in the city. We started to race everywhere we went. Getting more confident with the scooters, we started going faster and faster much like Ricky Bobby himself would. “If you ain’t first, you're last,” rushed through my thinking device, also known as a brain, which caused me to push myself and that small piece of metal with two wheels. Faster and faster we went. I hit the top speed of 17 mph and was zooming back towards our hotel when out of nowhere the forward motion turned into downward motion. My friend Cody, whom I was racing, had caught my back wheel and sent me slamming into the asphalt. The pain hit immediately and the warmth of blood flowed down my arm. I instantly rolled over to see what had happened and noticed all the people on the street staring at me. I ripped my sleeve off my BRAND NEW Cinch shirt and destroyed my elbow which was where the blood was coming from. I went ahead and scraped my palms raw in the fall while ripping a massive hole in my pants. Cody also took a tumble and was laying on the ground with me while Jimmy and Logan stood over us dying with laughter. As I stood up and tried to pull myself together in front of these people, I realized how trying to be first and pushing myself and that scooter to the limit put me dead last. Was I mad? Of course. But I had a humbling experience that sometimes we don’t have to rush to the front. As many wise men have said “slow and steady wins the race.” I still don’t believe that some days but I really just wanted to share this story with y’all. If I could tell you one thing to take away from this it would be to not push bird scooters to the limit and there is never a bad time to slow down.
Always wanting to go fast,
Loren Dakota Matlock