November 13, 2009

Serious illness forces Stewart to the sidelines

First, get well James. Your health is more important than anything. Anything. Even Larry Brooks said it is your "first priority" in this press release titled

Team San Manuel's James Stewart Force to Withdraw from International Supercross Races

over at Vital MX.
So believe that.

Unfortunately, there's no doubt this announcement of will cause disappointment all around, among Stewart's fans and foes alike. If I were a ticket-holder to either event, I admit I would be disappointed. But that's because I have actually seen James Stewart ride, in person. If you have not and you have any familiarity with a motocross bike at all... you want to see him ride, in person. You know you want that.

And if you have seen him ride, again, in person... you want to see him do it again. All the videos in the world are not the same as watching Stewart scrub a supercross triple while you're sitting only 50 meters away. The fact that you'll be in relatively comfortable stadium seats with your friends and family doesn't hurt.

The truth of the matter is this: there are only maybe a few hundred thousand people on this planet that have seen Mr. Stewart do his thing on a racing motorcycle, er, in person. They are all in agreement that it is indeed a spectacle to behold. But now the thousands of Italian and Australian motocross fans that were hoping to add themselves to that list by having their own "James Stewart Experience" will be deprived. I truly feel sorry for them.

Stewart will sit out the Genoa Supercross of Genoa, Italy and the final round of the Australasian Supercross championship series, the Super X of Brisbane, Australia. To my Australian and New Zealander brothers and sisters, I particularly feel your pain. I was eagerly anticipating this "last race of '09 showdown-throwdown" between Stewart and Reed, too. The Super X series has been highly entertaining this year.

However, health trumps all. Short-term thinking is fun and all that, but let's stay real about the important stuff. According to the press release

After recent medical evaluation, his Doctor and L&M medical staff found his immune system to be dangerously compromised and James was advised by his Doctor and Team that he should discontinue any strenuous activity and not travel out of the country at this time.

Considering current events, one doesn't need to be a doctor to understand that a "dangerously compromised" immune system is a condition to be taken seriously. Yet many motocross folks are from the "tough guy" school, in which riding injured or impaired is viewed as heroic, despite the dangers of doing so. I am glad to see that the L&M team seem to be taking this seriously. I certainly wish them the best, and hope James gets healthy soon. But I'm in no hurry; if it turns out to be so serious that James has to sit out all of 2010, I wouldn't mind. I have seen him ride, in person.

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