Okay, here’s the deal: this article is about what a badass Christian Craig is, however, I need to keep the following writings as objective as possible. Why, you ask? My relationship with the Craig family commenced in 2016 and, over the last five plus years, we’ve worked on a lot of projects together. Whether it be via a client project that I have, or Christian and Paige hiring me directly for projects such as PERSEVERANCE, we’ve spent a lot of time together. And, in doing so, Christian and Paige have become close friends of mine. I’ve seen up close and personal the trials and tribulations CC has gone through (some of which I have documented) and, in return, they have been on the ground floor with me through some very difficult times in my own life. And, in a shocking surprise, I am in the midst of wrapping up pre-production on an upcoming project with Paige and Christian that should see the light of day in the next eight to 12-years (I am basing this off of how slow I tend to move).
So, my long-winded point is that me writing this article is a wild conflict of interest. But, fuck it. I will try my best to remain objective and factual as we proceed. If you disagree with any and/or all of what I have to say in this article, please take up your concerns with another media outlet, because I do not read your comments and am pretty sure things like the homeless crisis in my lovely state of California is more pressing then words about a dirtbike racer you don’t like for whatever dumb reason.
This pass Saturday, I was forced to attend the Fox Raceway National. I had not been to a professional outdoor motocross race in eight years. Yes, that’s right, I have avoided the outdoor series since my last appearance in 2013. I was trending in the right direction of avoiding them all together for a complete decade. However, client work got in the way of my grandiose objective and, now, I have to start Project Avoidance all over again. While I was doing my best to avoid melting like Frosty the Snowman in the 106 degree heat on Saturday (seriously, this has got to be a safety concern, right?), I was witness to something I found to be very heart-warming and provided me with yet another reason why I find Christian to be one of the great individuals for our sport. Again, trying to remain objective about this, I swear!
After the final moto of the day, I found myself behind a large crowd of fans that were cheering and screaming for Dylan Ferrandis and friends. I was doing my usual art crap, trying to shoot through the crowds for some foreground. Christian was brought onto the podium to take some championship photos with Dylan and their team. Once CC finished his photo opts for the media, there was some young fans screaming Christian’s name, asking for an autograph, photo, and/or goggles. Christian, being the nice guy that he is, walked straight to the young kids lining the fence and started taking photos and signing autographs. I stood back and just watched it all unfold. Sometimes, I really enjoy taking a step to my left or right of camera and simply watching certain moments happen. Over the years, I’ve realized you don’t need to document every damn thing that happens. Sometimes, it’s more impactful and sincere to take a step back and watch the moment unfold before you without pointing the camera at it. And, this is one of those moments. I watched on as these kids were absolutely losing their minds over being able to meet and have a small, but meaningful moment with Christian.
Among these young kids was one young boy who I suspect to be roughly 10 years old. He was asking Christian for his jersey. From my vantage point, I couldn’t quite see the entire interaction, but it appeared that the young man was doing his best to convince CC to hand over his jersey. I don’t know what he said to eventually make CC to take off his jersey and hand it to this youngster, but after some sort of negotiation, CC took off his sweat-stained jersey and handed it to the kid. It was then that the kiddo walked away from the fence line in tears of happiness while, what I assume to be his older sister, threw her arm around him and gave him a big hug as he cried tears of joy while resting his head on her shoulder, clutching Christian’s jersey into him. THAT is the impact Christian made on a young fan that will now be a Christian Craig fan for the rest of his life. And, if you ask me, that’s the type of shit that makes you a people’s champion. Sure, the results are a necessity in the sport, but if you can’t treat the fans that keep this industry afloat with respect and give them just a moment of your time, then we have no sport.
A while back, I wrote an article about my experience with the 2000 125cc West Coast Supercross champion, Shae Bentley, and how much time the took out of his days to speak with me, send me autographed jersey’s, and more. Those moments are what wins people over. Athletes, celebrities, rockstars, etc., if they take just the slightest interest in who you are in that small window of time that they have with you, it’ll make you a life long fan.
I’ve always seen and known that Christian does an amazing job with his fans, and what I unintentionally witnessed on Saturday afternoon in the 106 degree heat, left me with just as big a smile on my face as the youngster who got CC’s jersey. Jersey’s from your favorite rider(s) mean the world to those fans and, I know this happens maybe more often then we see between rider and fan, but I wanted to write about this because I witnessed it and felt compelled to put this into the universe.
CC is often criticized for many reasons, yet he is one guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, gives you absolutely everything he can give you, and the results speak for themselves. Sure the championships aren’t next to his name, but he’s got multiple race wins to his credit, and consistently runs up either near the front of the pack or at the front of the pack. You couple that with his ability to treat his fans well and you have what I believe is a people’s champion of our sport.
We often forget champions, but we never forget the ones that genuinely make in impact on others. And, objectively and subjectively speaking, Christian Craig makes a positive impact on our sport.
Thank you for your time. If you hated this article, again, please send your complaints to another media outlet or to [email protected] and perhaps you could win yourself a free cup of hot chocolate, non-fat milk, and no whip. It’s the official Art Dog Signature drink at all Starbucks locations worldwide. Next time you stop at a Starbucks, ask for the Art Dog Signature. I dare you.