Today rocked the BMX world.
We often hear about deaths in the media, especially recently, but you never really think it’ll happen to anyone in circles you frequent. This morning my social media feeds were full of messages of condolences to Dave Mirra. To those that don’t know who Dave was, he was almost undoubtedly the biggest star BMX has ever had. What made it even more shocking, is that he was just 41 and died from an apparent suicide.
It always fills me with sadness when I think of the feelings that someone must be holding inside them to make them think that doing something like that is the only way out.
I’ve seen loads of videos, photos and personal messages all day, but I found this memoir by Chris Doyle that paints the best picture of who Dave was as a person.
“I grew up in Raleigh, NC, only a little over an hour from Greenville, where Dave Mirra moved to in the mid-90’s. Being the BMX nerd that I was/am, I was all too familiar with Mirra as a rider (he was very “BMX famous” before breaking into the mainstream) and I couldn’t believe that he lived so close to me. I eventually met him when my friend’s dad brought a group of us to Greenville’s Jaycee skatepark. He was so nice to us. He shook our hands and introduced himself to us, as if we didn’t know who he was. He rode with us the entire day and said to give him a shout the next time we were coming to Greenville… he was listed in the phone book (remember, this is the mid-90’s). I was 14 (maybe 15?) at this time, and I couldn’t believe how awesome he was to me and my friends. A couple months later me and my crew were back at the Jaycee park and he came right up to us and was like, “how’s it going, Chris? What’s up, Kevin?”… He remembered all of our names.
Fast forward a year or two and I was starting to make my own way in the BMX world; I was 16 and I was a sponsored dirt jumper. Mirra’s fame by this point had skyrocketed. He was the X-Games golden boy and was showered in success… yet he still remained humble. Occasionally, Mirra and a crew from Greenville would come to Raleigh and ride our trails. It was funny to watch Dave ride trails because they definitely weren’t his strongest suit, but he had fun nonetheless. On one of these Mirra trail boss occasions, I had to leave the session early to go to my high school job at a movie theater. I was saying my goodbye’s and Dave stopped me and said, “Chris, why are you going to work? We’re going to ride street at NC State, you should come with us… you don’t need that job”. I immediately called in sick and rode street with the crew. I mean… come on, this is DAVE MIRRA!
That following summer (1998), I qualified for my first ever X-Games. Mirra WAS the X-Games at this point. He was larger than life, the “Golden Child”, “The Miracle Boy”. Early in that weekend he won the park competition with ease. Everywhere he went, he had a camera following him, he was the first BMXer that I ever saw with an entourage. I was a first-timer, a rookie, just one of the riders to take up space on the deck. After dirt practice on one of the days, I was gathering my stuff and starting to make my way back to the hotel. Dave passed me by and was walking about 30 yards in front of me, he had a camera pointed at him and of course, his entourage was surrounding him. He looked behind him at one point and noticed me. He stopped (as did the entire entourage) and walked back to me and said, “Chris, it’s so awesome that you’re here. Last year you were just a local kid at the trails and now look at you. I’m looking forward to watching you ride this weekend… Oh, and when we get back to NC, we gotta have another trail session!”. He was larger than life and he still took the time to say a few words to an overwhelmed kid who had nothing to offer. It meant the world to me and I will never forget that day.
Rest in peace, Dave. – CHRIS DOYLE”
Taken from: http://demolitionparts.com/blog/news/never-forget/
A sad day.