After the terrible accident at the race this past weekend that claimed the life of a drive, we got to talking about being fans. Now, the fella who unfortunately passed away is not someone I had ever heard of before this happened. I don't follow racing. This guy was a former champion, and according to those who knew him and competed against him, was a pretty stand up guy. Lot of people liked him, and for those who did, I'm sorry for your loss.
In talking about him yesterday another racing death got brought up. That of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Now, speaking as I guy from Virginia, who grew up in Blackwater, among more than his fair share of country-type folk, I don't give a damn about that guy. He had a reputation of racing like jerk and playing hardball out on the track and that caught up with him. He wasn't a big champion, and there are plenty of drivers who won a lot more races than him. And yet, he's this major figure in the sport and near hillbilly sainthood. The story was the lead story on the front page of the local newspaper for three days, and one idiot on the radio claimed his spirit made the flowers in her garden bloom.
Now, in discussing Earnhardt I got to hear some real doozies of fandom. One person told my friend, "Yeah, I stopped watching NASCAR after my driver died." which he was referring to Earnhardt. This got the response, "Yeah, I stopped watching basketball after Magic Johnson retired." And I also heard about some joker who said he saw Earnhardt come around a corner and new that the guy was something special. Bullshit. he came around the corner of that track just like every other driver who came around the corner of that track. It wasn't like Michael Jordan jumping across the court for a dunk, or Randy Couture putting brakes on Vitor Belfort. Those were stand out performances. The guy who made the comment was just trying to pull the old 'I liked him before anyone else' card.
There are people who are fans of a sport, and there are those who are fans of people in a sport. It is kind of weird when you have someone who is a fan of an athlete but doesn't care about the sport at all. Its kinda like saying "I stopped reading comics after jack Kirby died". I do understand being sad when your favorite guy out there retires or unfortunately gets hurt. I just don't get giving up on something entirely just because one person is no longer there. Did that one person make the sport so much more entertaining that its just not the same without them there? And in the case I'm mainly talking about, and this is going to sound mean, but I'm a freaking redneck so I can say it, did that one guy drive fast and turn left in such a dramatic fashion that the others paled in comparison and the sport isn't the same without him?
I do respect those drivers. I certainly couldn't do what they do. Still, when you here some of those comments, its really easy to understand why people make fun of NASCAR fans. Its not all the fans of course, but like anything else its easy to go from fandom to fandumb.
Yep. Had to do it. Primus sucks.
That's it for me. Time to go demolish some more. See y'all Friday.