by Brent Morrison
|NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt standing alongside his iconic black #3 Chevy|
February 18, 2001, is a day that many of us will never forget. It is a day that continues to stir our memories and emotions, eliciting thoughts of triumph and tragedy, feelings of joy and pain.
It was the day Superman died.
Dale Earnhardt didn't wear a cape, but he did things in a stock car most young boys can only dream about. Kids revel in the thrill of riding bicycles down long, steep hills, furiously pedaling to the brink of "wiping out". For most, that's where the speed-induced adrenaline rush ends. Dale was able to chase that feeling every Sunday with ease and grace. He was an everyman; a self-made millionaire from a dirt poor family in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Dale lived out his boyhood dream but never forgot where he came from. He would spend his days working on his farm and handling his day-to-day life no different from you and I before slipping into his Superhero outfit and dazzling us every Sunday. These were the qualities that made him stand out among his peers, the qualities that made him so appealing to the common man. He was a superstar, but he was a relatable superstar.
He was our superstar.