At the end of the day there was Max. Up on stage, bright lights shining, reporters with their regular post-race patter. Taking it all in. And dishing it right back.
A day at the track and he was closing it with a full press conference. No answer ungiven. No questions out of bounds. You just had to let him choose the mic.
Let's back up.
MaxLoco and I were invited by IndyCar to attend the Honda Indy Toronto for a behind the scenes look at Toronto's fastest motorsports event. Max, as a typical just-turned three year old, loves Disney/Pixar's Cars. Race cars are as cool as it gets. I'm not sure he truly understood he was about to see real ones.
TTC's transport modes, he was in good spirits. I was only worried on two fronts: would I be able to get him to wear his ear-muffs and would I be able to keep track of him in the crowds and speeding vehicles?
From the get go, the whole thing blew his mind. He was into every aspect of it. And we hadn't even seen the cars take to the track. He loved sitting in the race car (it took some coaxing to get him to come out of it); he adored the motorcycles (and tried one in every colour); he scarfed the treats (snowcones and popcorn).
There were a ton of activities for kids and grown ups alike. And then there was the racing. I'd never been to a real race before. Redundant statement of the day - those cars are fast. It was truly amazing to see them fly by. Max would be chattering away, but as soon as a race car came into view it was the sole focus of his attention "race car!"
As nap time closed in, we got ready to head home. That's when we discovered the press conference room. I was gathering up our things when Max took off down the hallway, as he does. By the time I caught up, he had slipped into the press conference room. Without a moment's hesitation he strode confidently on to the stage and sidled up the nearest mic. Applying his usual charm while causing ruckus, he quickly had the staff playing along.
He spoke about his racing influences (grandma), the grip of the track (good), and his history in the sport (three years).
Everyone present agreed he has the key ingredients to becoming a racecar driver:
I only hope that he grows too tall to fit in those little rocket boxes.
I am looking forward to next year and returning to the Indy. It's a little more accessible than F1 (plus it's in Toronto instead of Montreal). It was much more of a family experience than I had expected.
And who knows, maybe some day we'll even make it Indianapolis.
Full Disclosure: we were guests of IndyCar for the day. Opinions remain my own.