Who Inspires Gretchen?

Gretchen Hansten, Jerome FFA Chapter

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The first time my parents took me to a race I was pumped! I was ready to hear the roar of the engines, watch cars speed past at over 200 mph, and see the black and white checkered flag fly. The real excitement of a race car race comes from sitting in the stands seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the smells. Experiences such as these are made possible by pit crews. Just like the pit crew supports the driver and ensures their safety on race day, we have our own pit crews. Our pit crews are meant to be the driving force (no pun intended) that inspires us to achieve our goals and offers the moral and intellectual support that we need to reach our goals.

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In my all-time favorite movie, Cars, Doc Hudson (retired race car) is Lightning McQueen’s crew chief. When McQueen is in Radiator Springs training, Doc tells him, “These are good folk around here who care about one another. I don’t want them depending on someone they can’t count on.” Who are the people that you can depend on? Knowing who those people are can make the difference between success and failure in our lives. After McQueen spent time in Radiator Springs, his pit crew became the other cars he met. McQueen had Tow Mater, Doc, and Sally along with many others to support him. His crew helped him achieve his goals and provided the support he needed to win the race.  

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My pit crew includes my parents, sister, grandparents, friends, and mentors. They’re the people I look to in moments of hardship and happiness. After a couple years of college, I’ve realized they’re the pit crew that will continuously remind me why it’s important to have grit and why I push myself to reach my goals. When I look to my parents for advice, I remember what Doc said later in the movie to McQueen on race day. He said, “I didn’t come all this way to see you quit.” With the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo right around the corner, Doc’s words have a solid meaning in our lives. Our parents, our teachers, our mentors pour energy into us to watch us succeed, not quit. Even when a driver is behind in a race, their pit crew stands by them through it all.

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I challenge you all to keep going when the going gets tough. Look to your pit crew for support in the good, the bad and the ugly times. It’s time to slow down and take in the moment. Life can speed past us sometimes, so make sure to take a pit stop and think about how many laps you’ve completed, and where the finish line is. This year will be full of green flags, yellow flags, and black and white checkered flags. Hit the gas and finish the race, and keep in mind it’s the pit crew that gets us to the checkered flag!  

Gretchen, we are thankful for your service as the 2016-2017 Idaho FFA President. Thank you for sharing your story with us about who inspires you. Good luck on your quest for National FFA Office this Fall!