I married into a dirtbike family. With a husband, son, and in-laws involved with dirtbikes, I’ve been cultivating an interest in Supercross and Motocross racing, to keep up. As with any sport, after watching enough races, we each have our favorite racers. That said, there is one racer that has caught our eye, imagination, and our hearts: Trey Canard.
Now twenty-one, Trey was named Rookie of the Year for 2011. His homepage proclaims, “A Christian who happens to race mx [Motocross] not the other way around. Love what I do and have great people around me. Very thankful.” He’s not just a racer who happens to thank God from the podium after he wins. It goes much deeper for him. In an interview with The Christian Chronicle, Trey said, “I believe this is what the Lord made me for. This is my talent…my ministry, I believe, so that gives me hope. And I just really enjoy it. The good stuff outweighs the bad stuff for me.”i He considers it a ministry, too, spending time volunteering at Five8 MX Christian camps, teaching kids about God and racing; he also speaks in churches. Turns out, Trey is not the only Christian on the track, though he may be one of the more watched ones, since he is vocal about praising God and he has been having what looks like very bad luck.
On January 21, 2012, during the chaotic first lap of the main event, Trey’s (#41) bike caught on a tuff block cover, slowing his momentum, inadvertently causing Ryan Morais (#65) to land squarely on Trey, knocking him out and breaking his back. (Ryan was significantly injured also.) This injury is not his first major injury since becoming a professional racer; in fact, it is his fourth in the last nine months. “The injury is the fourth in a string of broken bones, starting with a broken femur in last year’s SX [Supercross] series, another busted femur in the 2011 outdoors and a broken collarbone during 2012 preseason SX testing.”ii Having sat out the first round on the 2012 season because of injury, Trey had a strong finish in the second round, only to be re-injured, very seriously so, in the third round.
Now, if you look up nearly any article about Trey’s latest injury and read the comments, you will find a lot of people questioning why a God Trey professes to follow would “let” another major injury take him out of a season.
How is Trey handling that, on top of his own physical recovery, spiritual battle, and questions about his career?
To start, Trey has a deep well to draw from. When Trey was just twelve, his dad died in a tractor roll-over while building a track for his sons to practice on. In the same interview with The Christian Chronicle, Trey said,
My dad was a huge part of my racing. He got me riding. It was his passion, and he kind of passed it on to myself and my brother…He was just a great man, a strong Christian man, and really my inspiration to be a strong character for Christ…It’s unfortunate that I lost him when I was a young kid. … When I feel down or sad about that, I’ve just got to remember that God knows what he’s doing. iii
Now, post-surgery and in a back brace, Trey is out for the 2012 season and has another challenge to remember that God knows what He’s doing. In the meantime, Trey started tweeting about the book of Job and the topic of suffering. From February 25, 2012:
Alrighty folks, #Jobseries time. Job 12:13-17 ‘With Him are wisdom and strength-He has counsel and understanding’…What I love about it is Job’s complete high view of God. He is telling them [Job's friends] that God is above all and he is conveying his utmost respect and surrender to HIM…
Trey fights to keep it real. Again that day, he tweeted: “Not gonna lie hard to see your bike, mechanic and team at the races with you not a part of it.” More recently, he shared that waiting is hard. “Another racing Saturday is here… Wish I was in N.O. That patience thing is a little challenging sometimes.”
As he spends his time healing, Trey Canard is choosing, daily, to honor God. He spoke at his home church this month and actively follows the racing circuit. As God puts Trey through the whoops of even more radical character development and a deeper relationship with Him, Trey continues to make his sport all about God…as many are watching.
Is it any wonder Trey Canard has caught my family’s hearts?
Image credit: motorcycle-usa.com