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I hadn’t ridden a go kart in more than 20 years. My last experience with it was getting up early to join my fellow AWANA* brethren at a track owned by our friend’s dad. The only thing I remember from that day was crashing repeatedly into the stacked piles of orange-painted tires that ringed the course. Actually, I also remember drinking hot chocolate and sitting out the rest of the trip, huddled under a blanket, determined not to attempt driving until I was much, much older.

Now, much older, I’m a little gratified that I’ve gotten better at racing go karts. Mind you, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. During my first few laps, I felt the same kind of panic that left 11-year-old Jed so stunted. That quickly passed, however, and was replaced by adrenaline to the point of near dementia. Observe:

Reporting this story was a lot of fun. I knew I’d be trying it out – since the whole point of this series has been to record my experiences with weird sports. That said, it was a bit iffy to accomplish. The karts are so small that there really wasn’t space for my big honking Marantz recorder. Luckily I keep a cheaper, palm-sized digital recorder and a roll of gaffer tape in my radio kit and was able to tape that thing to my helmet. The manager at K1 Speed also set me up with a helmet camera, for which I am exceedingly grateful. Because of that you can watch the video of my subpar race performance at The Madeleine Brand Show page.

Of all the sports I tried for the series, this is the one I’m most likely to go back to do again.

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*Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed** – An evangelical Christian version of the Boy Scouts which involved memorizing Bible verses and learning surprisingly few survival skills. The organization’s title is somewhat ironic, as I remember being extremely ashamed of my dorky uniform (with neckerchief) whenever my mom stopped at the grocery store on the way home from meetings.

** A reference from the Bible verse 2 Timothy 2:15. Close examination of the linked page shows that the phrase “Approved workmen are not ashamed” does not actually appear in any of the listed translations of the Bible passage. The meaning of the phrase as adopted by AWANA seems to be a misinterpretation: you shouldn’t feel ashamed vs. don’t do anything shameful. Perhaps a more fitting acronym would be Innocent Workmen Are Not Troubled to Appear Before A Gloriously Empowered Lord.

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