When I was young, I played every sport that you could imagine. Growing up in a small town, Humboldt, Saskatchewan (pop. 5,000), that’s all there was to do. I excelled in football and played for five years at the University of Saskatchewan. Once my football career was over, I got a call asking if I would like to try out for the Canadian bobsled team. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but at the same time, I knew my athletic career wasn’t over, so I gave it a try.
I went to a bobsled camp where they select bobsled teams. I got timed and evaluated on how well I pushed a wheeled sled. It’s exciting; you have to be explosive and able to get in the bobsled quickly. Unfortunately, I pulled my hamstring in practice and I didn’t make any of the push teams. Then it was suggested that I try out to drive the bobsled! I used to race bikes so I was very excited to try this out.
For beginner drivers, they start you at the half way mark so you will only get to about 80km. It was fast enough to be fun, but it wasn’t that scary. It was like the best go-cart ride I’d ever gone on. When I got to the bottom; I enjoyed it so much I wanted to go again. And then they said, “Well, we’ll take you up to the top now.” Starting from the top, now you’re going really fast. There’s no way to slow down, so you’re going as fast as gravity is taking you 180km plus, there’s no control over the speed. It’s really scary at first, and I actually crashed on my first run from the top. I had panicked and we dumped it. That’s where I learned that you have to be in control of your emotions–control your fear. The start of the race is so important, and if you’re a little bit scared, you can lose your focus and edge, and eventually lose the race.
My courage comes from my faith, and I don’t know any other way of thinking about it. It’s ingrained in me and I can rely on God and know that He has a plan for me and things are in His control, not mine. That’s where my courage comes from.
I was three years old when I was out golfing with my dad. I remember very clearly that we were walking up to the third hole and he was telling me about what Jesus did for me–that He died for me, and that if I asked Him to come into my heart, that He’d come and I’d get to go to Heaven. I remember I sat down with my dad and said a little prayer. I’m not really sure what a three year old knows, but I remember it.
I don’t know how guys do it—especially pilots—without knowing the Lord. It’s so reassuring to know the God of the universe who is in charge of everything, cares and is looking after me. I think it has helped me perform better and deal with the stresses of racing and being on tour away from my family. As pilots—we have to be focused every day. I won’t know how to do it without the Lord. I feel like I’ve almost got an unfair advantage. It doesn’t even feel like courage anymore, it feels like I’m part of His big plan.