First, the latest T. T. Mitchell Consulting Newsletter is available here.

Evel Knievel has passed away today at age 69. Evel Knievel has pretty much been around my entire life, the first daredevil I ever heard of, back when the name really meant something. I remember when it seemed like he was a fixture on weekend television in my youth, always trying to jump over something, most of the time missing, crashing, and seriously injuring himself. This was back in the days where watching someone perform dangerous acts was a thrill, until the day I learned how those people can really get killed, and decided I didn't want to see someone get killed in front of my eyes.

I remember the last time I saw Evel try to do something no one else had done, the infamous jump over Snake River Canyon in Idaho. It was live on TV, per per view, and I was as fascinated as anyone else to think he was going to give this a shot. I never thought he could make it; turns out that, in later interviews, he admitted that he didn't think he could do it either, because he didn't believe he could get enough speed out of his motorcycle to have a shot. They had added rocket boosters to the motorcycle in an attempt to help give him more speed, and they hadn't worked in the two tests, but he decided he was going to go through with it anyway. When asked by the interviewer Jim Rome many years later why he went through with it, his response was pure moxie: "Why? I'm Evel Freaking Knievel!"

Evel Knievel is an American original, though his son is now trying to follow in his footsteps. Most people may not see it the same way, but Knievel's dream was the ultimate American dream; just a small town guy who decided he wanted to go into business for himself, and wanted to do it his way. No one can say he didn't give his all; who wants to try to count the number of broken bones he had in his lifetime. I would never hope anyone else wanted to try to do what he did, but having the courage to give one's all to any venture, no matter what it is, definitely is something to admire.

Goodbye, Evel; you were one of a kind.