The Relay Refresh RoadTrip was back on the road again after Relay Weekend and rolled into Asbury Park, New Jersey, the home of Bruce Springsteen, to visit with Trader1 Whiplash, the man behind the “Wizard of Oz like curtain” with all the technology that powers Relay Radio. From the Opening Ceremony through the last lap after the Closing Ceremony, Trader was there helping the many voices of Relay Weekend to be heard over all the Relay sims and beyond.
Trader shared with us that his SL name came from the fact that he spent 40 years on the New York Board of Trade as a commodities trader specializing in cocoa and sugar. He first came to SL in November, 2004 from another virtual community called Moove Online where he was known as Trader. The Trader1 came about when he was asked to become a Senior Scout and he created a second avatar that helped others get acclimated to Moove Online. He continued in Second Life as Trader1 and has just passed 5,000 days inworld.
Trader uses a Samsung 9 cellphone and we were not surprised when he shared with us about the technology he uses for all things Second Life. He enthusiastically described his self built Windows 10 tower computer. Starting with an ASUS Sabertooth ceramic motherboard with 32GB RAM, Nvidia 1050 graphics card, dual sound cards and three hard drives filled with music, his self taught knowledge of computer hardware was quite impressive. Add to that his Behringer solid state mixer and studio microphone and it was very easy to see how he has helped to promote Relay over the airwaves for so many years.
When asked about his first friend in Second Life, he told us about Athena who he had known in Moove Online and who lived near him in Manhattan in real life. And as the word Manhattan came up, Trader shared with us that his son was in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and survived, but that he lost “34 friends” on that infamous day.
Trader told us about his first day inworld and how he was stuck on Newbie Island trying to place a beach ball on a table. After about three days, his friend Athena teleported him out and the rest is history. He quickly got involved in hosting and learning to DJ. Then with his own music stream and a copy of SAM, an acronym for Streaming Audio Manager, T1 Radio came to life. This is also how his close friendship with Nuala Maracas began in SL and RL. She was hosting at the same club as Trader and when he started T1 Radio, she made an audio promotional spot for him. He told us “her voice was amazing” and he suggested that she start DJing with him. Together they have built T1 Radio into one of the premier radio stations on the grid.
With 76,849 items in his inventory, Trader has come a long way from his funny noob story days. He told us two noob stories, one about a friend’s house being on fire from a griefer because they did not turn off build and the second story was about another friend’s home exploding when they dragged the root prim across a sim line.
When the conversation turned to music, we quickly realized that he had a virtual smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He struggled as we pressed him for his favorite song because he had so many, but in the end he picked Good Feelin’ To Know by Poco. We were not surprised, with Trader being from Asbury Park, that “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen was his favorite musician along with The Beatles and Steely Dan. We were very impressed with his overall knowledge of music and downright jealous that he had seen The Beatles live in concert at Shea Stadium in 1965. He told us his favorite all time TV show was MASH and that he really does not watch much TV anymore but does enjoy watching The Walking Dead with his longtime partner Arizona.
As the conversation turned to laughter and what makes him laugh, Trader did not hesitate before saying “Nuala and her quick wit”. He loves to tell jokes and can find humor in most anything. He told us he was a “Libra with a deeply emotional side” and prefers to ”laugh with as opposed to at people”.
His heroes come from SL and RL. He told us about Renee Riva, a Relay Rockers teammate, who is in her “third bout with cancer” and her determination to “not let it beat her”. Nuala is also his hero for what she “is going through in taking care of her Mom”. He also mentioned his Dad for beating alcoholism and turning his life around.
Trader’s Relay story is quite interesting and begins with his being diagnosed in 2003 with Leukemia after receiving some abnormal lab test results from a routine physical for a gym membership. He told us that “leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells and is a watch and wait, see the doctor every three months kind of thing”. Over the course of many years he has had “chemotherapy and immunoglobulin infusions”. He told us he is “currently asymptomatic but very much in the watch and wait mode and could be facing further treatment in the future”.
During all of this he began to Relay in Second Life in 2005 as part of a team called D’Alliez Estates and T1 Radio which became the Relay Rockers in 2006. As one of the oldest teams in the SL Relay, they have raised tens of thousands of dollars and every year they lead the way with novel ideas, passion and enthusiasm that is both palpable and contagious. From their Bid Me Bald concept, to multi-team events like RelayStock, to their willingness to help other teams, the Rockers are well known for their achievements. Trader was even able to convince his real life employer, SeaCoast Chevy, to be a Heart Of Relay Sponsor at Relay Weekend this year.
When asked who he Relays for Trader had a long list that started with his four grandchildren ages 5, 4, 3 and 7 months because he “never wants them to hear the word cancer”. Also included in that group were his partner Arizona Ballinger and his best friend Nuala Maracas who he also wants to never hear the words “you have cancer”. He also Relays for his teammate Renee Riva who is battling cancer and two Relay Rockers who lost their battles with cancer, Alliez Mysterio and Catt Gable.
As a survivor, we were not surprised that his favorite part of Relay was the Survivor’s Lap during Relay Weekend. He also loves the Teams Lap and seeing all the teams together on the track after a successful Relay season. Trader also mentioned attending the National Relay Summit in RL as one of the highlights of his Relay journey.
We all laughed as Trader shared his favorite Relay story about the “dancing cows”. It was Relay Weekend 2007 and he was walking the Survivor Lap when he was “rounding a bend... coming up on his team’s campsite... and seeing all the Relay Rockers on dancing cows... cheering me on...” It was one of the best Relay stories we have heard and is emblematic of the spirit the Rockers bring to Relay year after year.
Trader left us with a favorite quote by Eldridge Cleaver that says, “... you either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem…” Trader told us emphatically that in his mind’s eye, “cancer is the problem and Relay is the solution”.
Trader1 Whiplash is a man on a mission. Even though his leukemia is a “wait and watch” kinda thing, he has neither waited nor watched when it comes to Relay. Year after year he has been all in for Relay For Life of Second Life.
His fighting spirit… his Relay Rockers team... his T1 radio station… his Legends Classic Rock Club… his innovative ideas... and his flat out passion for Relay… have made this man a legend in his own time.
One need only look at a quote in his profile from Stuart Scott from ESPN to understand Trader1 Whiplash:
“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer... You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live... So live... Live... Fight like hell... And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you…”
And Trader1 Whiplash tenaciously says “I’m not tired yet”.
ROCK ON TRADER... ROCK ON...
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