Those of you who know me well know that I am an avid extreme sports and off-road enthusiast. Having grown up in the backseat of my dad’s ’73 CJ5 exploring the mountains of Colorado, I’ve loved the adrenaline rush of concurring obstacles, defying gravity and looking down on the clouds. I love the sound of our 351 Windsor in our ’69 Bronco rumble, the smell of high octane fuel burning and pulling up to an obstacle, dropping it in 4 Low, 1st gear (yes, I can drive a manual) and locking in the axles. It’s an adrenaline rush, I crave it, it sets my soul on fire, it’s my happy place. (Pictured above is my badass husband driving our newly restored ’69 Bronco on Carnage Canyon in Buena Vista, CO).
For those of you who don’t know this amazing women below, give me a moment to introduce you…(I’m going somewhere with this, I promise, stay with me).
“It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire… those who are willing, are those who achieve great things…
People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)” – Jessi Combs
This image and quote was posted on Jessi’s Instagram page 3 days before she was killed in August trying to break the Land Speed Record in a jet car.
Jessi was a badass… plain and simple. She lived life under her own terms, threw caution to the wind and shattered so many stereotypes. She’s arguably the most iconic and decorated female in the motor sports world and is an icon and role model for women everywhere. “Having turned down a full scholarship to a prominent interior design school, she traveled North America before settling in Denver, CO to pursue a career in snowboarding. This proved more painfully demanding on her physically than she had anticipated and rather decided on a career that involved her love for the throttle pedal and showcased her artistic abilities. She moved to Laramie, WY to attend WyoTech where she studied Collision/ Refinishing, Chassis Fabrication, Street Rod Fabrication, and Trim/Upholstery, graduating at the top of her class with a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication.” [read more about Jessi Combs]
“I ask that… all of you celebrate my life and everything I stand for. I ask that you do everything in your power to share my mission, what I put my entire life on the line for. To reveal to this world what they are capable of, by showing them the confidence and abilities they already possess.” – Jessi Combs, The Jessi Combs Foundation
Okay, where am I going with this….I recently had a conversation with a young student-athlete struggling to find the love for her sport. The sport she’s lived and breathed since she was a little girl. Struggling with the ‘what if’s’, the ‘who will I disappoint’, the ‘what regrets will I have’ kind of questions.
We hashed out different scenarios until we ultimately got to the question of… imagine it is Dec. 31, 2020 and you are staring and two vision boards. These vision boards include goals and activities you have accomplished throughout the year, things you love, things you are passionate about. One board has softball, the other doesn’t. Which board are you drawn to? She didn’t hesitate in her response, ‘the one that doesn’t’. That my dear is what sets your soul on fire! I’m so proud of this young lady as she is beginning to identify what it is that she wants and who she wants to be. Even more so that she has developed the courage to SAY IT OUT LOUD and do what she has been yerning to do but didn’t know how. She’s developing the courage to stand up for herself, believe in who she is and have the hard conversations.
Here’s my point, it’s okay to change directions friends. Look at Jessi’s path – a college scholarship offer for interior design couldn’t get any farther from professional snowboarding, motorcycle enthusiast, fabricator, race car driver, TV Host etc. Jessi had the courage to follow her heart, explore new opportunities, try things and do all of this fearlessly and unapologetically.
Athletes, non-athletes, future rock stars – find what sets your heart on fire and pursue that! Write your story, create your adventures and ultimately trust yourself and love the person staring and you in the mirror before you go to bed every night. As Rachel Hollis says, “be unapologetically you!”. Parents, coaches and teachers – Follow Jessi’s mission, “reveal to this world what they are capable of, by showing them the confidence and abilities they already possess.”
#WinEveryDay #BeKind #TrySomethingNew #Courage #GodBlessJessiCombs
Photo and Information Sources: Jessi Combs Instagram, Jessi Combs Twitter, jessicombs.com, jesscombsfoundation.com, Rachel Hollis, ‘Girl Stop Apologizing’