Immediately after the checkered flag in Sao Paulo, there was a lot of negativity surrounding Takuma Sato and whether or not he was blocking. I made a comment that Sato “can do no wrong” for this lifelong IndyCar fan. When I explained why I feel this way, Matthew asked me if I would write a blog post about my experience with Sato. I said “Sure. Do you think people would be interested?” So, here goes my first blog post:
I was in a restaurant in Las Vegas the day after the tragic loss of Dan Wheldon. Sitting next to us was Takuma Sato. As we got up to leave, I stopped at the table where he was dining with two older ladies I presumed to be his Mom and Grandma. It was my intention to express my condolences to him and his family regarding the loss of his racing colleague. What happened next was completely unexpected and surprised me as much as it surprised his family. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak, I started to cry. Well, to be more accurate, I was bawling, completely bawling. He remained completely calm and collected, as I stood in front of him, a blubbering lunatic. He reached out and took both of my hands in his and said “It will be ok, we will all be ok.” I pulled myself together enough to thank him and wish him a safe trip home. I had been sitting there in that restaurant, on my home to St. Louis, hating this sport that I had been raised to love so very much. With those few, calm words, he made me feel better about this horrible thing that happened.
|Sato celebrates his victory at Long Beach (Photo: Robert Laberage)|
When Sato won his first IndyCar race at Long Beach this year, I was ecstatic. He can be heard on the radio transmission saying “That was really nice.” So calm…Just like the day he offered me those comforting words in the Las Vegas restaurant.
I’ve reflected on that brief conversation with Sato so many times. In the months that followed, I never really questioned whether I would continue watching IndyCar, probably because I knew we would be okay, we would all be ok.
-Lynn Weinberg @lynnweinberg