2016: Year in Review

Photo: Jim Sands

By: Kobe Lambeth

Dear 2016,

Where did the time go? It felt like I was celebrating the beginning of a new year yesterday and here we are again. A lot has changed in 2016 and I would love to take some time to reflect on a year that has been like a roller coaster at an amusement park.

In November 2015, I launched my own website Daily NASCAR Scoop and More after a very brief stint with The Apex. Many lessons were learned at the start of a new chapter in my life. Previously, I wanted to be a mechanical engineer for a race team, but sometimes we must be brutally honest with ourselves. I finally decided that it was not in the cards to be an engineer as I do not have the math skills to be successful in this area.

This left me wondering if I cannot be a mechanical engineer, then what will I do after high school? Every morning before school, I typically check motorsports news-based websites such as Sportscar 365 to start my day. There are a plethora of extremely talented journalists today in the world of motorsports. Articles written by those individuals made me realize something special about myself.

Throughout my years in school, teachers have always praised my writing skills, so why not pursue a career as a motorsports journalist? I carefully researched the position and discovered that I am truly capable of making it my career. A fellow high school student named Aaron Durant, who has similar aspirations approached me with the idea of joining The Apex. It was very intriguing so I took the offer, although the relationship did not last very long. During my brief stint with The Apex, I learned so much about myself, which led to my decision of starting Daily NASCAR Scoop and More. The experience helped expand my writing skills and I grew tremendously as a person. I would not be where I am today without Durant and The Apex pushing me to improve each and every day.

Now, I reflect on this entire experience as 2016 is nearing its final destination. It has been a fantastic 13 months of writing, building connections, and expanding my horizons in many areas. In general, 2016 has been a challenging year with more responsibilities, difficulties, and interesting circumstances as I am close to entering the world of adulthood. Overcoming any challenge is always a victory.

One word to describe my senior year of high school at the halfway mark is “busy.” The year has truly gone by extremely fast, but shocking revelations about life in the future weigh on my mind. College applications, scholarships, and the senior graduation project caused plenty of stress this semester, which is totally normal for high school seniors around the country.

I chose NASCAR marketing for my senior graduation project and it was quite an experience. We had to do a research paper, portfolio, product, and present our findings to judges, in order to prove that we are the expert on our topic. My most memorable experience from completing this project is learning from a community reporter for RockinghamNow named Joe Dexter.

Many days after school, I went to the newsroom and Dexter shared his expertise and knowledge of journalism with me. Throughout this entire process, I learned the importance of ethics of journalism and maintaining a “never quit” attitude to accomplish all of my goals and dreams. As one of the judges of my presentation told me as I was about to leave, “You and your mentor had a special experience where one professional journalist is passing on knowledge to an aspiring student who wishes to be in the same position.” Knowledge is power.

There are not words to describe how special it was working with Dexter for my project. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to learn the correct way to becoming a professional journalist. Speaking of opportunities, I have received multiple offers to join various websites as one of their contributing journalists. Honestly, I did not expect for my articles to gain so much attention this early in my journey, but I am blessed that others are interested in my services. In my best interest, I believe it is best to continue with Daily NASCAR Scoop and More for the immediate future and help my writing skills grow, before pursuing a better opportunity as I progress through the ranks.

On Christmas day, I appeared in my local newspaper, the Reidsville Review, discussing my goals of covering NASCAR as a motorsports journalist. However, I am open to opportunities in open wheel and sportscar racing. The article was published online the day after Christmas and the rest is history. Family and friends were so excited to see the quiet, small town kid following his heart to pursue his dreams of making it to the race track.

I want to thank my family and friends for believing me and my abilities. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have such wonderful people in my life supporting me. 2016 has been a wild year filled with ups and downs. The year ended on a positive note with people in my hometown of Reidsville, North Carolina noticing my true potential, excelling in academics, and knowing I have the support of others as I move towards a future of unknowns.

A close friend gave me some special advice about heading into 2017 and beyond as 2016 is coming to a close. The answer was quite simple. Ride the momentum.

Sincerely,

Your friendly neighborhood future motorsports journalist

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