Last Thursday was a terrible day for me. At 1pm I lost my job… I did what most men would do and let a few close friends know. One of my friends reached out and said we should grab a beer and as he sat down I saw this tweet:
WHAT!? – We both into BMX and shocked by the news jumped on Google to find out what happened. It was true, Dave Mirra was dead of an apparent suicide. I’m not afraid to admit as a 31 year old man I welled up thinking about it. I never met the man but he had a profound effect on my life.
Dave Mirra – Childhood Hero
Dave Mirra has been as hero to my brother and I since we first watched him take X Games BMX Gold 20 years ago. We never missed a chance to watch him ride and over the years we watched him strike X Games Gold 13 more times. In all he took home 24 X Games medals, the man was a superstar. He made us want to ride a bikes, to practice hard, and we did.
He was also the man behind one of the favorite video games ever made Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2. Skateboarders had Tony Hawk and we had Dave Mirra. We would stay up for hours playing, pushing the boundaries of what we could do, finding the best lines, and besting each others scores.
The game was and remains a masterpiece, from the maps, to the controls, to the soundtrack – it still plays well 15 years later. So well infact I keep an old console around just to play it and i’m sure soon my children will be playing it too.
Through the success and accolades Mirra remained humble, building community and mentoring the next generation.
Last week my brother had this to say about Dave Mirra:
I’ve written several things about Dave Mirra and deleted them before posting. It’s hard to know what’s appropriate to say or even feel, really.
The reality is, one of my heroes took his own life yesterday, in a total shock to a massive community of people. Dave Mirra is a BMX legend. He pushed the sport of BMX and led a whole generation of kids to love the sport. He was also a rally car driver, he built skateparks, dominated in competitions. He was a husband, a father. He was a lot of things.
For me, one of the most important things Dave Mirra did was to be himself. He pushed limits, had character, kept going in the face of challenges, he built a community by giving back to the sport that made him an icon.
I guess it feels odd to call someone a hero in adulthood. He’s not the saved-15-kids-from-fiery-bus-crash type of hero. He’s the type of person a kid looks up to, because he’s an inspiration, type of hero. He blazed a trail in action sports. He led a group of people that doesn’t fit into most expectations and demographics…
Sean McIntyre via Facebook
Dave Mirra is one of the few heroes I remember from my childhood, and later in life he taught me so much more than I could have expected.
Dave Mirra – Fatherhood Hero
There’s no denying Dave Mirra was a BMX Legend, but when all’s said and done it’s a footnote in his legacy in my mind. I will never forget Dave Mirra because when I things were rough for me, he pushed me to become a better father. Dave offered these words of wisdom.
As a father, you are automatically inducted into the Hall of Responsibility. Life is about ups and downs, great times and tough times. My responsibility as a father is to show my kids balance, education and character. Although I’m not perfect, I am always keeping my eyes open for a better way to be the best father I can be. I am lucky enough to have this opportunity to raise 2 beautiful daughters and in turn, I have the chance to be loved for the rest of my life. Being a father isn’t just about teaching our kids how to be great but also learning how to be a better teacher.
Dave Mirra – #BEADADNOTAFAD
Through following Dave I got to see what an amazing father he is. He didn’t just preach the good news of fatherhood, he strived to be an example for others. He pushed himself to be an amazing father as he was an amazing athlete.
While pushing himself to be a great father Dave Mirra co-founded #beadadnotafad, a social movement to encourage fathers and share their great work. Looking through the hashtag and official accounts on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook have inspired me to word harder, to be better, and to leave an amazing legacy in my children.
Dave’s passion for sharing the joys of fatherhood equaled that his athletic career. When he took up triathlons, the whole family did. In fact Mirra’s oldest daughter was the first one in the family to complete a triathlon.
Although I will never understand why Dave choose to leave us, I am thankful that he was here. To build community, to inspire youth, and inspire us again as adults.
Let the world know you love them
I wish I had a chance to let Dave know what he meant to me. To tell him that he inspired me as a kid and still inspires me today. I realise that the more a person grows in popularity the harder it is for their praises to have a deep effect on you. You hear your amazing all the time and your mind becomes numb to the fact that what they’re saying might be true. Dave was an amazing man, we lost an amazing man, and a beautiful family lost there father, a loving wife – her husband.