MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Growing up, many children idolize superheroes that mask themselves as everyday citizens, only to unveil themselves to accomplish extraordinary feats.
Many of these superheroes hide behind a sort of alter ego persona that is so completely opposite of their superhero identity as to not draw attention to themselves.
Mild mannered newspaper reporter by day, Superman at night; this is the type of contradiction that has become common in the superhero biography.
Although the Depot boasts no Marine able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, one Marine assigned to Weapons and Field Training Bn., definitely fits the mold of a superhero whose everyday lifestyle bears complete reversal once the weekend sets about.
Sergeant Chris Cole, a primary marksmanship instructor assigned to Range Co, WFTBn., for the past eight months, spends his days on the firing ranges preaching the importance of relaxing with eyes closed, deep breath in, deep breath out, open eyes, take all the time necessary, then squeeze the trigger and send a single round down range.
On the weekend, Cole sheds his PMI mentality to unveil an all go, no quit, speed freak whose only goal is to go as fast as possible and do whatever it takes to win.
Growing up in Piedmont, S.C., Cole spent most of his childhood like so many other children in the Carolinas, idolizing racecar drivers in hopes to one day themselves be wrapped in a brightly-colored speed machine with a number on the side and sponsorship logos covering their vehicle.
Although Cole maintained childhood dreams of one day racing cars, he was not able to start racing competitively until the age of 23.
"I wish I could have started sooner," said Cole.
In a sport where so many young children start racing in go-carts, Cole now competes against children as young as 14 in a sort of minor-league circuit in the Carolinas and Georgia region.
"Our family just didn't have enough money to start me off sooner," added Cole.
Cole now does his best to make up for lost time, devoting all of his free time toward racing cars.
"I don't even have a girlfriend," he said smiling.
Racing at least once, sometimes twice every weekend, Cole makes the trip to Laurens Speedway in Laurens, S.C., where he does the majority of his racing.
He is currently eighth in point standings at Laurens Speedway, where he races a modified 4-cylinder Ford Mustang.
Racing every weekend consumes both time and money, said Cole.
Most of the cost of his racing is out-of-pocket, having only three sponsors, one of them being his father's lawn care service.
"The car I race costs about $10,000,"he said. "I also recently put up about $800 in maintenance costs."
Although Cole himself puts up most of the
money spent on his racing, he does have help with his car's upkeep.
"I have several friends that help me with the all the mechanical work with the car during the week while I'm at work," Cole said.
His love for the sport is evident in all he does, as he is seen even on the softball fields sporting racing paraphernalia.
Although, Cole's job in the Marine Corps is very different from racing, he ties the two by pointing out both take a tremendous amount of discipline and dedication.
Taking those traits with him when he leaves the Marine Corps next year, he plans to continue racing competitively.
"I'll do everything I can to race," he said. "I love it that much."