Guest speaker:
Kevin Poynter

Zoom Call 6/22/2020

The audio from the call can be found here.

Today the Perimeter had their fifth Zoom call. There were 5 of us in attendance, including guest speaker Kevin Poynter. Kevin shared his story of losing his best friend Eric during a drag race, and the effect it had on him and his development as a young man. In this post you'll find key points from the discussion and an audio recording from the conference call.

In the early 90s, Kevin worked as a race car crew chief for a company called John Force Racing. At the time, he and a slightly younger man named Eric Medlen became good friends while working together, and they shared a dream of driving race cars. They worked long, hard days pursuing this dream, mastering the craft of racing and everything involved with it. They were truly in pursuit of their passions and their professional potentials.

In 2006 , Kevin finished a season with a different company, and Eric asked Kevin to join their team to finish the season. Kevin started supporting Eric as crew chief for the funny-car he was racing. Kevin made sure to express to us that they worked really well together since they had the chemistry and teamwork of best friends: "Best friends are important thing, remember that." They had a successful season, though they got eliminated in the second of four rounds on Sunday, the championship day.

The team decided to do some testing with the car on the following Monday. Things were going wrong all over the place, but the team's desire to be better kept them from realizing that they shouldn’t have been operating the vehicle in their test. Kevin alluded to the value of being able to look at one's self and their situation objectively in order to make safe, strong, and informed decisions. He has this insight now because of the team's failure to do so that day, which resulted in the death of Eric Medlen. Something in the car failed, and Eric suffered a terrible crash on the raceway.

Kevin shares that this was traumatizing not only because they were best friends, but also because it was during their pursuit of something that they loved. Kevin's job as crew chief was to go back and reconstruct the crash in an attempt to diagnose what went wrong. This duty caused him to come to terms with the role he'd had in being responsible for the car. He also had to face Eric's father, who used to be a mentor, and tell him about his findings in why the accident occurred.

In maturing from this stressful event, Kevin shares that the silver lining is his improvement in the ability to take a step back and think about purpose in life. He says that we have but two jobs: cultivate meaningful relationships with the important people in our life, and to pursue our passions. "Be nice to other people. Enjoy them. Learn from them. And don’t take them for granted."

Kevin was presented with the opportunity to crew chief for another racing friend name JR. With John Medlen's blessing, he joined JR's team, nearly winning the championship that year. Kevin shares that if he hadn't said yes to that opportunity, he probably wouldn't recovered. The experience allowed him to prove to himself that Eric's death was not his fault, and to gain an understanding that there are things that we can't control. In searching for a reason to continue on in racing, Kevin was reminded of his love for being around the racing environment. Everybody involved they accepted the risk in taking part in something they loved to do, which gave them peace to keep moving on. He concludes that this acceptance, along with learning from the experience and making it safer for the next guy is how Eric would have wanted them to move forward, which he carried into his time as a driver later on.

After Kevin signed off, we continued to discuss dealing with death and other stressful life events.

We explored the idea of being able to grow stronger from a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, a near-death experience, or being exposed to the intensity of war. Similar to building a strong physique, building a mind of fortitude can be done by exposure to short periods of intense stress followed by long periods of rest. This is not often the case in our modern world because many of our stressors are of the chronic, low-amplitude flavor. When we are exposed to larger stressors, it is partly our decision to move forward, but we also need to have the proper rest and adequate support. We concluded that people in today's society are often at a disadvantage because our lack of strong societal ties can cause people to attempt to face life on their own.

Call to action:

  • Post your pre-pandemic squat, deadlift, bench, and pull up max-effort weight/reps in the forum, along with your fitness goals for the remainder of 2020.

  • Continue to support each other in the 90-day abstinence from pornography