Concept by Paul Harrison and Matt Panic, ShaDynasty
Words by Ryan Benoit
It’s 2017 and the world you occupy probably feels like a powder keg that’s ready to blow. Or maybe you’re not like “everyone else” on Facebook. Maybe you’re not like your family and friends, and you choose not to engage in this new political landscape. You refuse to dig your heels in and shout through your keyboard at someone you’ve never met because your ideologies don’t align.
In the same vein, you might just think you’ve got it all figured out, so you’ve tucked yourself away in your garage. You spend your time waiting until you and your friends/drift team can hit the track. You think nothing can take away the high you get from drifting with your friends. You probably feel pretty safe in your cocoon that is team tandem drifting. But chances are that you aren’t safe and everything you’ve built could come to a very practical end!
Robert Frost once wrote “nothing gold can stay” and with that sentiment in mind, here are five signs that your grassroots drift team is headed for a break up.
(Disclaimer: The images do not necessarily relate to reason… most of them are just there to fill space.)
Drifting costs money. And usually the deeper you are into it, the more it costs. Tires, replacement parts, entry fees and travel all add up very quickly. Multiply that cost over a couple of years and you’re looking at having invested a sum that rivals a down payment on a mortgage… but it’s best not to think of that. Because if you add a mortgage and the responsibility of home ownership to your life, that expendable cash will inevitably start to disappear. So if someone you know stops spending money on their car or starts considering parting it out, it’s often a tell-tale sign they’re about to plunge into home ownership.
When you started reading this, you probably expected me to put marriage on the list. But you’re wrong. If you think a wife or significant other is one of the top reasons why people stop driving, then you’re with the wrong person or have been in the past. If somebody knows you well enough to marry you, chances are they know you well enough to be okay with your hobbies. You don’t get married and expect the other person to stop doing the things they love – even if those things seem silly. That’s what kids are for! Or at least they stack the odds against you and make it harder for you to pursue more frivolous activities by: a. Taking up your free time (or so people have been warning me) and b. Making it harder for you to be selfish and pursue selfish things. Weekends might now be devoted to your child’s activities instead of driving with your team. Also, your spare tire fund might turn into money for back-to-school clothes.
3. New chassis
You’ve spent years behind the wheel of your trusty steed. You’ve dragged it across the country to countless events. But chances are your car was much cleaner when you started and your gaze will start to wander. The allure of the unscathed metal on an un-drifted chassis will catch your eye. The idea of having a streetable chassis will tempt you and your stripped-out race car interior with the incessant buzz of metal and exhaust drone may start to wear on you. A new chassis is a fresh start, a blank canvas… but it can also be a bit of a headache. It can be a steep learning curve getting this car to drive like your old heap. And it’s likely that buying the parts and building the new chassis will hold you and your drift team back. What should only take a few weeks turns into months, and sometimes those months turn into years. People start to talk about your first chassis as a distant memory and part of you will miss it. But it doesn’t matter, because by the time you figure out your car, you or someone else on your team will fall into one of the other four reasons on this list – and your team will be finito.
Religion has divided people for hundreds of years because it calls for much of your devotion and faith. Wait – did I say religion? I meant Crossfit. For 10 years or so, Crossfit has divided people because it calls for total devotion and an unwavering faith in the program. It’s hard to be hopelessly devoted to two passions and realistically, Crossfit is much cheaper and healthier than drifting… as long you don’t drop a tractor tire on your head or something.
None of these signs are hard and fast rules; maybe you and your teammates can make it work, or maybe you’re the exception. But the reality is that time catches up with everyone and everything eventually runs its course. You start to realize that your grassroots drift team isn’t totally sustainable. In fact, I would be truly surprised if anyone actually thought this team model was sustainable. The common theme of all these reasons is really time and money. Both are a commodity, and none of us have an infinite amount of either.
It’s tougher than you might think to fund an entire drift team on sticker and t-shirt sales – just think of how many thousands of dollars you need to get you and your team across the country. You might be lucky to pick up some sponsors here and there, but if it isn’t the pros, it sure as hell doesn’t pay the bills. People get old and team dynamics shift and can get complicated. That isn’t to say that one day you won’t care about drifting anymore, but your grandiose adventures can’t go on forever. So, the best you can do is strap yourself in and try your hardest to make a go at it. At the end of the day, hopefully you’ll be left with some really great stories, a bunch of photos, a few videos and some amazing friendships.
If you’re a media guy looking for signs that it might be time to walk away, it’s much simpler: a. Either you get really good and people stop seeing your name on work because you’re too busy doing it professionally or b. You aren’t quite up to par and people stop seeing your name on work because you’ve stopped creating. If you’re real stubborn, you can maybe drag this process out for a couple years…