Perspectives: Raising a Pro Spinner
THE MOTHER OF SPINNER STACEY-LEE MAY, FROM THE NETFLIX SERIES HYPERDRIVE, SAYS CHILDREN MUST BE ABLE TO CHASE THEIR DREAMS.
We live in Eldorado Park, a township neighboring Soweto just south of Johannesburg. It’s a colored community that’s on the news a lot. We have huge problems with drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancies among our youth. It’s gotten worse over the past couple years, especially when it comes to gang-related violence.
Living in this community, my philosophy as a mother has always been trying to find stability for my kids, getting them into public school and so on. But as time went on, my husband and I started learning that we have to let go of the kids and let them fend for themselves. Ninety percent of our time is trying to get them to find something that they love. We’ve made a point of getting them into extracurricular activities so they don’t sit idle and get into trouble. We try to do things as a family. With Stacey it was racing, her sister modeling and for our son, it’s playing soccer.
At 16 years old, Stacey and her dad had this great idea, which I thought was foolish at the time. A family friend came over one day and said a girl is wanted to try out spinning. We had always loved going to spinning events, but when I heard this I was like, “come on man. I think there are better things than Stacey doing that. That’s for men.”
But she wanted to try it and so one day this car rolled up to the parking lot at my work. I think it was only after the second turn I could see Stacey light up and smile.
I had the strategy in my mind, “I need to get this child alone and tell her this is not for you.” As I was trying to convince her, she said, “Mom please don’t do that to me I really love this.” How could I say no to that? As time went on I started relaxing and now I’m more the one that’s always saying, “I want to go spinning this week!”
I’ve been called an unfit mother on Facebook. The local news came to do a report on Stacey and people on social media said, “how can you allow your girl to be doing that? You are crazy to allow her to hang upside down from a moving car.” Yes, I am crazy! I think it’s a shame that some people will never understand how important it is to allow your children to follow their dreams.
We’ve got to be there for our kids no matter what we do. We would all love our kids to be doctors and lawyers but that’s not for everybody. If only parents could open their minds and just listen and speak to their teenagers, I feel that could change a lot of things in our community.
While I was initially against Stacey spinning, Stacey following her dreams has taught me so much. She never took no for an answer. She has a powerful mind and that is one thing I wish more young ladies would have. No matter what is thrown at you in your life, you can do your best. My kids are always helping me to find my own voice and myself.
Back when I was a young girl, a woman had no voice and no say in anything. Stacey has a small body with a loud voice, she knows what she wants from life and nothing and no one will stop her, not even people commenting negatively. I mean, just look at her taking a male-dominated sport that was once known as gangster, and turning it into something amazing that other women can look up to.
Stacy is studying to be a lawyer and her dad tells her: “school first.” If school’s not going well, there’s no spinning. We want her to have something to fall back on, but her true passion is racing cars and one day she hopes to open a spinning school and help empower other women.
Life is amazing. You have so little time starting from when you are born. You're a toddler till you're two years old, a child from two to 12, a teen till you're 18, and an adult for the rest of your life! Don’t rush into being an adult. Take it as it comes and you will see how amazing life really is. And don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t achieve your dreams and goals! It doesn’t matter how you start but how you finish in this race called life.