Comedians used to be society’s truth-tellers. Pointing out life’s absurdities, regardless of whose feelings might be slightly offended. In a world of microaggressions, pearl-clutching and faux outrage, Adam Carolla has had to take truth-telling to another level.
THE DAILY WIRE – OCTOBER 2022
Most comedians avoid joking about The Boss, and for good reason. Not Adam Carolla.
The podcast giant poked fun at his new employer, The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro, on the latest installment of “Adam Carolla: Truth Yeller.”
The freewheeling show, part stand-up, part improv, found Carolla tweaking Shapiro early and often, from his fellow podcaster’s yarmulke to Shapiro’s academic prowess.
“[Ben] graduated from UCLA when he was a zygote,” Carolla cracked.
The versatile comic knows Shapiro can take a joke, but he opened the new episode by acknowledging a cold, hard fact about comedy in Woke U.S.A. He couldn’t tell some of his planned jokes in Hollywood or, presumably, many blue city comedy clubs. He might get canceled before the show wrapped.
The saga of Dave Chappelle isn’t lost on Carolla.
The “Truth Yeller” host told them anyway on his new home at The Daily Wire, firing off cultural observations and playful stereotypes as he saw fit. He even turned his humor on himself to show people we shouldn’t treat jokes so seriously.
“I’m not a racist, but I’m on the spectrum,” he said before telling a few jokes that could get him in hot water had “Truth Yeller” aired on, say, Comedy Central. Don’t bother with those cyber pitchforks, woke acolytes. Carolla isn’t the Apology Tour kind of guy, and he’s got no malice in his material.
That’s why he landed Jay Leno for “Truth Yeller’s” debut episode and comic actor Rob Riggle for the second episode. Riggle, who served 23 years in the Marine Corps, is best known for his work on “Modern Family,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show.”
Neither steered clear of touchy topics. They leaned in, finding laughs where they could.
Comedians, Carolla said, should have “diplomatic plates” when it comes to the Cancel Culture mob and their odious trigger warnings.
“Here’s our disclaimer – it’s a joke,” he said.
Riggle joined Carolla for the show’s improv segment, bouncing from foreskin gags to chain restaurant shtick. The show’s guest told a killer NSFW story about a celebrity golfer’s “accident,” while the host trotted out material that wouldn’t fly on late night TV today.
Together, they tried to make sense out of the senseless pandemic rules.
Carolla said the scariest eight words to hear are, “On behalf of your Seattle based flight crew,” mocking the progressive city’s authoritarian bent. Riggle got in on that theme, noting how he just watched 80,000 Michigan sports fans cheering on their beloved team while other places stalk you for not raising your mask quickly enough after sipping a soda.
Riggle wouldn’t attempt that material on Stephen Colbert’s couch. The crowd might boo too loudly rather than process the truth behind the gags.
Comedy and truth are allowed to breath on “Truth Yeller.”
Carolla caps every episode by teeing off on one particularly ripe target. This time, he blasted California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and audiences sensed he could have mocked the Democrat for the entire show’s run if the spirit moved him.
“He looks like a guy who sells used teeth whiteners,” Carolla said of Newsom, who hearts the electric car industry while chasing Tesla founder Elon Musk out of the state with his extreme regulations.
Dumb governor. Smart. Jokes.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The first Black man to race in the Indy 500, car racing icon Willy T. Ribbs is the subject of 2020 documentary Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story. Directed by Nate Adams and Adam Carolla, the film follows Ribbs’ path through an extremely white industry rife with racism (even to this day).
As Mashable’s Kellen Beck writes, “Piecing together interviews with Ribbs, his brother, other racers, managers, pit crew members, and journalists, Uppity is a fascinating documentary that displays both the intricacies of how professional racing works at its various levels and all the ways that racists try to disrupt progression for Ribbs — and, though unspoken for, any other person who isn’t a white male that wants to compete in one of the most popular sports in the world.
“Racism seeps through every corner of Ribbs’ professional life story, which is one of determination, tenacity, outstanding talent, and the mountain of hate that Ribbs had to continuously push through to make his mark in the history of racing.”
Where to watch: Netflix
Read Full Article Here: Mashable
By Aleks Klosok and Amanda Davies, CNN
Video by Noura Abou Zeinab
(CNN)When Willy T. Ribbs speaks his words are packed with punch, power and purpose — verbally mimicking the actions of his sporting hero and former friend, Muhammad Ali.
They are words carved from the experiences of a man who knows what it’s like to stand alone.
A Black driver whose effort to break into motorsport was slowed by several hurdles and stereotyping throughout his career.
But for all the fighting talk his words are undercut with a sense of what could and perhaps should have been.
“I wanted to be like the greats — I wanted to be Formula 1 world champion. My mother always said I was 25 years ahead of my time.”It was a dream conceived in the Californian mountains.
A dream that would be challenged by politics, personalities and prejudice — but one which would ultimately spark a series of trailblazing moments and in turn spawn motorsport’s original barrier-breaking pioneer.
Speaking from his ranch in Driftwood, Texas, a recurring word emerges throughout — “playbook.”The “playbook” was Ribbs’ blueprint for success.
In childhood, his father — an amateur sports car racer — planted the motor racing seed.
In adulthood, Emerson Fittipaldi — who would go on to become a two-time Formula 1 Champion — provided a path for him to blossom.
Like Fittipaldi, Ribbs’ early career took him to England to compete in the single-seater British Formula Ford Championship. He took to racing like a duck to water — winning six of eleven races and with it the “Star of Tomorrow” title in 1977.
“They saw Willy T. as a fast driver and a winning race driver,” Ribbs fondly recalls.
The following year he returned to the US with his sights set on competing in IndyCar — the contrast in reception in the pitlane, though, couldn’t have been greater.
But his reception in the pit lane at a NASCAR race was a shock.”All it took was the N-word. When you get addressed by that name you know what it’s about,” he vividly remembers of his preparation to race at the Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.
“They made it clear: ‘We really don’t want you here. Why are coming to our sport? Can’t you play basketball or football?”
Humpy Wheeler, who at the time was president of Charlotte Motor Speedway, wanted to try to run Ribbs in NASCAR later that year — his effort, though, was in vain.
Ribbs was charged with a traffic violation in Charlotte — Wheeler had to bail him out of police custody. The next day, Wheeler and Ribbs went their separate ways.
Death threats followed, Ribbs says.”I didn’t give a damn about it at all. I know one thing — You weren’t going to do it to my face. I considered it very exciting […] You got letters or a phone call. I would sort of invite it: ‘Okay, start killing.’
“NASCAR did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment about the way Ribbs says he had been treated by the sport.
It’s this bullishness, bravado and bravery that is captured in a single word emblazoned on the front of Ribbs’ hat — “UPPITY” — the title for a recent Netflix documentary charting his remarkable life story.
And yet it’s a word which represents much more — a racially charged term often aimed at Ribbs to imply he was acting above his station.
“They just thought I should walk 10 paces behind them. That wasn’t happening.”
“(For me) It wasn’t about color. It was about being a race driver. Race drivers have no color either you can get it on or you can’t.
“He eulogizes how Ali provided him with the “playbook” to fight the antagonism — not physically but mentally and emotionally.
“He had great principle, integrity, and he was strong. Mentally he was a very tough man [and] being around him, I learned resolve. What I needed to do to accomplish my goal.”
And accomplish that goal he did.
Ribbs took the Trans-Am series by storm from 1983-85, winning 17 times and establishing himself as the hottest property in sports car racing.
Fittingly his victory celebrations were not low-key. Returning to the pitlane and in an ode to Ali, he would perform the “Ali Shuffle” — feet moving back and forth in quick succession on the hood of his car and hands raised aloft.
His break came in April 1985 when, backed by boxing promoter Don King, he made his first attempt at qualifying for the famed Indy 500.
Mechanical problems ultimately doomed his bid. But a significant landmark was on the horizon — one that was to enshrine him in motorsport folklore.
December 1985. Autódromo do Estoril, Portugal.
Approached by British businessman Bernie Ecclestone, who owned the Brabham team, Ribbs became the first Black driver to test drive a Formula 1 car.
“He wanted me in the car — He wanted me in Formula 1.
“It was both a symbolic yet finite moment — for it was to be as far as he would go in F1.
Brabham’s main sponsor at the time was Italian electronics manufacturer, Olivetti. Ribbs says the company wanted an Italian driver installed. There was no compromise — Italians Riccardo Patrese and Elio de Angelies were to be the drivers for the 1986 Formula 1 season.
“I have no issues with that,” says Ribbs. “I would’ve liked to have had a major multinational sponsor from the United States to support it but it didn’t happen […] My goal was to be in Formula 1 but Bernie had made a statement.
“The groundwork had been laid but it would, though, take another 21 years for a Black driver — Lewis Hamilton — to officially Formula 1.
But Ribbs’ feat would serve to fuel another piece of history.
After several attempts, six years later in May 1991, he qualified for the Indy 500 — becoming the first African American driver to do so.
He would complete five laps of the race before engine failure forced him out but it was unquestionably a significant barrier breaking moment.
Two years later, though, his luck came full circle as he competed again and finished all 200 laps.
And he’s keen to remember those owners who supported him throughout — including Jim Trueman and Dan Gurney.
Yet almost 30 years on, the landscape is much the same as when Ribbs first broke ground.
In 2020, NASCAR’s top circuit has only one full-time Black driver — Bubba Wallace.
CNN’s interview comes in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and just a day after NASCAR announced it would ban Confederate flags from its events after a vocal campaign led by Wallace.
For some the decision is long-overdue. Ribbs, though, remains skeptical.
“When NASCAR refuses to let Confederate flags fly in their infield: Is that sincere? If George Floyd was alive right now, those flags would still be flying. That’s why I’m saying not much. They’ve got a lot more to do.
“NASCAR didn’t respond to CNN’s request for comment about Ribbs’ assertion.NASCAR is not the only place where the battle for equality and diversity continues to be fought.
Just as Ecclestone gave Ribbs his shot, Ribbs is quick to praise another “monumental” figure who gave Hamilton his opportunity in the sport — former McLaren CEO and founder, Ron Dennis.
“(He) put Lewis Hamilton in the position to be where he is today. He saw a great talent, mentored him and took Lewis right to the top.”
“Ron has already given everyone the playbook. Get the playbook from Ron.”If you can put a man into space, this is a piece of cake. It’s not rocket science.”
In many ways Ribbs handed Hamilton his own “playbook” — he offered a glimpse into what could be achieved both on and off the track.
Yet pure talent was never enough. Racing necessitates backers and resources — And Ribbs largely never had that.
Hamilton, though, does — and he’s seizing the opportunity both as the dominant racer of his time and an advocate for change.
Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been a vocal advocate for greater diversity in the sport
“(Lewis) is the band leader and he’s not afraid […] He’s broadened the sport worldwide to people of color [and] will be anointed as the greatest of all time in the end,” Ribbs proudly states.
“There’s always going to be that element (that) does not accept purely race […] Just like there’s a lot of people that won’t accept Lewis for race only.”
“They’re not just dumb. They’re scared. They’re cowards […] You don’t judge a man on his skin color. You don’t judge a man on his accent. He’s a man or he’s not a man.”
After almost seven decades, the iconic MAD magazine will halt publication of new content and vanish from newstands, according to CNN. Its last new issue will be in August 2019.
“After issue #10 this fall there will no longer be new content — except for the end-of-year specials which will always be all new,” reports ABC News. “So starting with issue #11 the magazine will feature classic, best-of and nostalgic content from the last 67 years.” Entertainment Weekly reports that “MAD will continue to publish a year-end issue with new content” and “MAD books and special collections.”
The beloved humor magazine was founded in 1952, originally in comic-book form. It switched to the current magazine format in 1955.
Former MAD editor Allie Goertz, who resigned MAD last month, tweeted, “MAD is an institution with such a rich history. It informed just about every comedian and writer I (and probably you) look up to.”
“Working at MAD was a childhood dream come true,” she tweeted. ” I worked with ICONS. Sergio Aragonés visits were common. Al Jaffee still does the fold-in!”
Weird Al Yankovic, who recently had the honor of being guest editor, tweeted, “I am profoundly sad to hear that after 67 years, MAD Magazine is ceasing publication. I can’t begin to describe the impact it had on me as a young kid–it’s pretty much the reason I turned out weird. Goodbye to one of the all-time greatest American institutions. #ThanksMAD.”
MAD is a part of the DC Comics group, which in turn is owned by Warner Brothers, which is then owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia. Its readership peaked in 1974, when more than 2 million subscribers followed along. In the digital age, it is no longer the influential satirical force it once was.
However, recently, President Donald Trump compared the Democratic nomination candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg to MAD‘s mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. Buttigieg reacted, “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that. I guess it’s just a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference.” He then added, “It’s kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the President of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.”
In reaction to the news, The Guardian called MAD‘s demise “the end of satire.”
By total coincidence, Chassy is helping to fund a new doc on the history and glory of MAD magazine, called “When We Went MAD.” (Read more about it here). The doc — which you can help support — includes the pub’s rise, as well as the skillful writers, editors, and illustrators who fueled its iconic status. Flower Street Docs — headed by our own Adam Carolla, Nate Adams, and Mike August — will be managing and helping to fund the joint.
Be sure to check out our own Adam Carolla in concert. Not Taco Bell Material is Adam’s first stand-up special, which is based on his New York Times bestselling autobiography. It’s a chock-full of tales from Adam’s youth, which prove to be both hilarious and inspiring.
When We Went MAD! examines the 60+-year history of MAD, the best-known humor magazine in American publishing. This doc — which you can help support — illustrates the pub’s rise, as well as the skillful writers, editors, and illustrators who fueled its iconic status.
The film project was conceived by Alan Bernstein, a writer/director with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. In the course of his career, he’s worked on a number of television series, documentaries and films, including Thank You for Not Smoking, One Half Gone, and Judicial Consent.
Flower Street Docs — headed by our own Adam Carolla, Nate Adams, and Mike August — will be managing and helping to fund the doc.
Here, we talk with Alan Bernstein about the lasting legacy of MAD, and its impact on the culture:
RON: How did you come about creating this doc?
ALAN: I’ve been a MAD fan, reader and collector since I was six. That makes it 44 years. My background is in film production, and, quite honestly, I kept waiting for someone else to make the documentary. At the same time, we started losing some of the [MAD] artists and writers. I thought, if someone doesn’t do this now, we won’t have the opportunity. So I started it on my own.
RON: I guess many people would be surprised to learn that MAD magazine is still actually publishing.
ALAN: It’s still in publication, but it’s no different from any other story: there are so many different avenues of humor [in the digital age]. What took [MAD] two months to put into an issue would take The Daily Show one night. It’s hard to compete with that, but they still put it out. It’s still published. And I think that’s a great thing.
DC Comics took the reins of MAD, and they moved everybody from New York to L.A. a little over a year ago. And as a result, they pretty much brought in a whole new staff. So it’s a truly new generation.
They started renumbering it, so they’re up to Issue #8. It seems that at least in every issue, there is a direct reference to the old MAD. I don’t mean in terms of articles, but photos of the original publisher. They’re paying reverence to the original, but they’re making it their own as well, which I think is the right thing to do.
RON: I guess there are a lot of people like us, who fondly remember the original MAD.
ALAN: I truly believe that. Even if they can’t name off the top of their heads a specific moment, I run into people who say, “I read that when I was six,” or “my older brother read that when he was six, or twelve.” It left enough of an impression that they have a fond memory of it.
RON: To what do you owe MAD‘s success?
ALAN: It didn’t pander. If you want to “get” MAD, you had to step up your game. That’s when things last — if they challenge you.
RON: What was this filmmaking experience like for you?
ALAN: It is the true definition of “labor of love.” These writers, artists and editors were my true heroes growing up. Growing up, it never occurred to me that I could meet them, that I could approach them. I put them on such a pedestal. They were kind of untouchable. When I set out to interview, there was only one person who turned me down, and that was because of a health issue. Everyone was excited to be interviewed and have their story told. Every moment was a “pinch yourself” moment. I got to meet these people!
One of the great things about the MAD story is Bill Gaines, the publisher, who was such an eccentric and held his staff in such high regard that they had nothing but the best memories. A good handful of the earliest writers, who were there during MAD’s heyday, moved out to California and wrote for Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family. These guys were winning Emmys left and right, and yet they were always called back to MAD for an article. They changed the mindset of several generations of writers.
RON: Being lampooned in MAD is a badge of honor. Was that always the case?
ALAN: At first, it seemed like an insult: why would I want to be associated with this subversive, anti-American rag? Over time, it became “look at me, I’m on the cover of MAD! I’ve made it!”
RON: What to you is MAD‘s lasting significance?
ALAN: Every issue of MAD is a physical piece that is documenting the moment. It has a place; it has an importance to it.
Like the kind of comedy that makes you laugh? Be sure to check out our own Adam Carolla in concert. Not Taco Bell Material is Adam’s first stand-up special, which is based on his New York Times bestselling autobiography. It’s a chock-full of tales from Adam’s youth, which prove to be both hilarious and inspiring.
Get ready to uncover the usually secret, largely unknown world of meme creators. Flower Street Docs, headed by Adam Carolla, is funding the production of Meme Gods, directed by Sean Flax and Bryan Black along with executive producer Cedric the Entertainer. The doc drills down into the creative and technical process of memes, and explores their culture significance.
Visit microventures.com/Adam to become an investor today!
Hard to believe that memes have been around for about two decades. They’ve evolved from a humorous Internet throwaway to a vital marketing tool. The term was coined in 1976, by Richard Dawkins, to mean “any shareable cultural artifact that spreads through a culture like wildfire.” That sounds about right. With the digital age, memes are so commonly shared that Google Trends calls “memes” a more popular search term than “Jesus.” (Although we would never pull a John Lennon and claim that memes are more popular than Jesus).
Millennials are believed to spend over 200 minutes online every day, which gives brands a good chance to reach them and engage with them through memes. The trick, of course, is to not make a meme look like an ad. Meme creators must be more subtle than that. This doc shows how it’s done, and why.
Co-director Sean Flax is an award-winning journalist and director/producer who has worked for major media corporations including the BBC, Eurovision, NHK, and Time Warner Cable (Spectrum). Since leaving traditional journalism, his independent work has appeared on CBS, NBC Sports, USA Today, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many other distribution platforms.
Sean currently has a slate of TV, digital, and film projects in development through his company, Endless Roots. He is based in New York City, where he was born, and graduated from the University of Michigan.
Co-director Bryan Black is a writer and creative director with more than 15 years of experience creating compelling and innovative campaigns for both traditional and new media. Bryan produced some of his most acclaimed work at 4-time agency-of-the-year Deutsch Inc. where he spent nearly 10 years of his career leading the development of creative campaigns for a wide range of national and global brands. Bryan creates content every day on his influential instagram page @black_humorist where he has earned 125,000 followers.
Here, Sean and Bryan help us turn over the rock to witness the meme-making that often makes our day — and can also make careers.
RON: How did the idea of explaining and exploring meme creators come about?
BRYAN: We run an advertising agency, but we all have individual meme accounts. And through those accounts, we’ve all connected. It’s a real community. And some of us wound up meeting — as they say — in “real life.” The ones we’ve connected to are the actual creators, the ones who actually make the memes. Not re-posters.
Adam Padilla, my business partner, who goes by the name Adam the Creator, said, “Let’s make a documentary about memes.” And we did it. We did a few days of shooting in New York and LA, and interviewed about 25 big [meme] accounts.
RON: I never realized that memes were “a thing.” I think most people just figure that memes are the result of random acts of inspiration by random people. I didn’t know that it’s an actual industry.
BRYAN: A great majority of the memes are people making a one-off joke on Twitter or wherever. They may tweet it on their little account, and it blows up. Then there are the actual “creators.” They have larger audiences, and they post every day. Their accounts blow up as a result of their diligence and work ethic. That’s combined with having some aptitude for it — a sense of humor and an awareness of popular culture.
SEAN: The creators that Brian is talking about have not been introduced to anyone until this film. They build followings and they build their own brands. As a result of that, they become their own social media influencers. By building large followings and creating content that people want to see every day, memers have begun to earn a living. Brands are starting to wake up to the value of humor in advertising and exposing the brands to Millennials. Their content is very engaging. People are sharing it and talking about it. If you post something that is timely and can get a laugh, you are going to get a lot of engagement around that.
RON: Meme creation is serious work. Some of these creators are actually moving up to big careers.
SEAN: Some of these memers are rising beyond just making memes. It’s almost like memes are a “jumping off” point to larger careers in media. I think it’s going to become more commonplace as memes continue to grow in popularity.
RON: What makes a successful meme?
BRYAN: Timeliness is at the heart of it. Memes are created in real time. It’s completely about what’s happening at that moment. A lot of memes are evergreen, but many of them are about responding to what’s going on.
SEAN: I think it’s become a mode of communication. There is that general decrease in attention span; memes are not necessarily helping that, but people are very busy and it’s a great way to communicate with somebody quicker. It’s become an efficient and enjoyable way for people to communicate with each other. I think that’s another reason why it exploded. There is a feeling of being in an inner circle.
RON: What is the difference between a meme and a GIF?
BRYAN: A GIF becomes a meme when you add more context to it. You turn it into something that was previously only an image. At its heart, a meme is taking something that exists and building on it.
RON: What makes a meme go viral?
SEAN: It evolves as it’s shared, and it becomes viral because of other people. At the end of the day, a meme is going to become successful because of everybody else, not you — how they share it and how they spin off of it.
RON: Is creating a super-successful meme uiltimately a numbers game? It’s about throwing enough against the wall to see what sticks?
BRYAN: [Meme creators] like to take credit for it, but ultimately, it is a numbers game. And it shifts wildly. Ultimately, a lot of our satisfaction comes from external validation. We are stuck with those numbers and beholden to them.
RON: Is there one social media platform that seems more meme-friendly than others?
BRYAN: People are just loyal to different platforms, but we operate within Instagram. Twitter is huge; it is probably the ground zero of memes. The most popular meme accounts are on Instagram, but so much of this stuff originates on Twitter. The Reddit people would say, “we’re the place where everything starts.” Reddit is sort of a repository for everything. I would say that the kings are Twitter and Instagram; the more formal meme accounts are on Instagram.
Click here to find out how to help crowdfund Meme Gods.
In the meantime, check out Not Taco Bell Material, Adam’s first-ever standup special. It’s based on his New York Times bestselling autobiography. Hilarious! Click here to find out more.
Devour more of our amazing documentaries here.
“Somebody just asked me to help out their son,” says motocross trainer Don Solley, on how he eventually created the Xcel Trainer Motocross School. “Nothing crazy, just trying to teach him a few things.”
It did get crazy, though — crazy successful. Those few lessons turned into an expanded curiculum, and well attended. Don’s 40-acre school, based in Fort Pierce Florida, has become a prominent motocross practice and training facility, teaching kids everything from body position and breaking to throttle control and maintenance. But it’s not all serious stuff all the time; there’s also training for jumps, whips, and wheelies.
Don is the ideal teacher of this kind of skill. The son of professional drag racer Chip Solly, the Florida native started racing professionally at age 18 (he’s now 30).
His life, through a series of jumps, whips and wheelies, reflected his art.
“It was up and down,” he says of both his life and motocross career. “I had moments that were really, really good, and then there were moments where I struggled. The hardest part was trying too hard too soon instead of letting myself learn through the process.”
The result of putting the pedal to the metal?
“I had a lot of injuries,” he says of what he calls his “injury phase,” “which definitely held me back from where I could have been. I was always trying to push through it, trying to get a result each weekend. I should have just been more patient and learned and applied myself better during the week. I needed to learn how to be patient. Patience is hard to think about.”
The injuries of an ambitious young man on the motocross move were par for the course: damage to the spleen, kidneys and liver, legs and knees. Add to that a dislocated shoulder, which needed a full reconstruction.
“It spiraled me into not being patient and trying to rush back too soon,” he says.
During the injury phase, Don took on a few more clients, who went on to national-level success.
“So I thought, this is kind of fun to watch these kids go on and do well,” he says, “so maybe I’ll do this along with my own racing. I started having more fun helping the kids, seeing how happy they were when they reached their success. It was really fulfilling on my end. I just started putting a lot of focus on that.”
The school offers both private and group training, focusing on technique and fundamentals (but emphasis on the fun). Also offered are training camps and even an online program where non-local kids can learn via video.
Don’s major priority when teaching: preventing the injuries that he experienced himself.
“We do a lot of technique-based stuff,” he says. “Some kids go by ‘let’s go faster!’ I go more by the lines of learning the technique. The speed is going to come as a result of that. It helps the riders to be more well rounded and to keep injuries to a minimum as well. That’s something I know was a mistake on my part when I was racing, so I really try to focus on injury prevention. It’s all about keeping the kids safe and healthy, making sure that they’re not overexerting themselves.”
Still, teaching kids who are gunning to ride always presents a challenge: “understanding their mind and how they learn,” Don says. “That’s probably the hardest thing. For some, you need to be really nice and calm and patient. For some others, you have to push them a little bit harder. And I just have to be able to figure that out.”
Professional potential also often rears its head in the course of a motocross course.
“Some kids have a higher ceiling, I guess you can say, with where their potential could be,” Don says. “I have to be able to see that quickly so that I am not holding certain students to such a high standard. Some of the kids who are winning at a national level, they are obviously going to be held to a standard that is above the local kids, just because they are the best in the country. The other kids are just having fun at a local level. They don’t care how fast they are, they are just doing it for fun. Being able to differentiate that is definitely crucial to having success with the kids.”
A large component of Don’s teaching technique is his lifelong love for the art of motocross.
“It’s taught me so much through my life,” he says. “When you work hard, you can achieve your goals. Because it’s an individual sport, you can directly see those changes. If you work really hard in football or baseball or any other sport, sometimes you can’t see your results, because you have other people on the field who may dictate how you are going to do. With motocross, it’s a direct reflection. If you work hard at it and stay really focused, you’re going to succeed and you will reach your goals at some point or another.”
Click here to find out more about Xcel motocross training.
Like bikes? We do too, big time. Check out our selection of motorcycle docs:
One Man’s Island: A character driven, documentary portrait of one man’s obsessive quest to fulfill his boyhood dream. In January 2002, Canadian Mark Gardiner gave up his job, home and life savings for a chance to race the Isle of Man TT, the world’s most dangerous motorcycle race. One Man’s Island examines the motivation, passion and risk associated with the quest. It chronicles first-hand the events of the journey, explores the question of why anyone would go racing and captures the experience of realizing a dream.
12 o’ Clock Boys: Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a group of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O’Clock Boys.
The Indian Wrecking Crew: Narrated by Jay Leno. After WWII, two brands would battle for supremacy in the early days of American motorcycle racing – Harley Davidson and Indian. Three men, Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill and Ernie Beckman, racing for the Indian team, endured lethal heat, exhaustion and barely any pay. In spite of all this, they regularly dominated the better-equipped Harley riders and were dubbed the Indian Wrecking Crew. Their battles across the dirt tracks of America would define the burgeoning sport of motorcycle racing for years to come.
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