Saturday, September 3, 2011
It has been a loooong time since I wrote a blog. But out of boredom tonight I did some random searches on Google for various chasing stuff. One thing I happened to stumble upon was a Minnesota storm chaser names Alex Sahlberg. He was about 4 years older than me, but passed away from natural causes in April 2005 at the age of 18. I ended up on an old thread at Stormtrack that was in memory of Alex. He wasn't real well known in the chasing community since he was just starting out, but in the local community people really knew him, and those that knew him had nothing but good things to say about him. From what I can gather, Alex never saw "the big one", didn't have pictures of 1000 different tornadoes to show off to everyone, and didn't even have his license. Instead, he had the genuine passion for weather, didnt matter if it was just large waves crashing on to shore on Lake Superior, or lightning from late night storms, because it was weather, and he loved it. He didnt seek out the glory so many of us do today. And this has really got me thinking, and honestly a little embarrassed. As hard as it is to admit, I do like some of the glory that comes with getting great tornado video, or cool structure shots, and I think a lot (if not most of us) enjoy some of that glory. I'm not saying that is why I chase, watching mother nature's power is something I hope never bores me. But over the 6 years I have been chasing, it has become more about getting the cool shot that everyone will ooh and ahh about, instead of just enjoying what I saw, regardless of whether it was a tornado or not. Today's chasing world is so wrapped up in trying to outdo the next person that over time we forget why we're out there. It's not about the fame or glory from the pics or video we're gotten, or what channels have shown our footage, or who we know, or the drama that goes on, it's about our passion and desire to watch the storms, or at least it should be. I can tell that since I started up my chasing facebook profile my ego has gotten bigger, and I don't like it. This is also not the first time I've noticed it. On a couple separate occasions it has nearly pushed me to the point of closing the profile and just going offline and under the radar for a while, and knock myself down a peg or two. The thing is, no matter how much my ego makes me think I'm better than someone like Alex because I have more tornado video or the people I know, I know I'm lying to myself because I can tell he truly touched people and had that determination to get better and smarter. It's a shame his life ended so young. If he were still alive maybe he would be a role model for some of us to remember why we are out there and not get caught up in the hype and glory and that we don't need to be on Discovery to get recognized. I dunno, maybe going offline would still do me some good...we'll see. In the mean time, RIP Alex, even though you are no longer with us, maybe you can still be that role model for a few us.
Posted by Midwestchaser at 1:01 AM