Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kicking the NASCAR Hornet's Nest

NASCAR isn't a sport.

There... I said it.

Let the fast and furious commenting begin!

Technically if you want to define sport as a pastime then it could qualify. Or as a diversion, okay I'll give you that one too. But when I think of sports I think of things I (being uncoordinated and lacking anything remotely resembling quickness) can't do very well. They are pretty obvious-- anything requiring--running, jumping, throwing, hitting various objects with bats/clubs/rackets, riding horses or bikes, anything on skates or skis, along with killing animals of various kinds, and any combination of the above.

Driving in a circle? I can do that.

If NASCAR is a sport, are drivers athletes? 

Now I've heard all the arguments:

"They are going a zillion miles an hour!"

Okay, they drive in a

"They lose like 20 lbs during a race!"

I'll give you that it may be a great weight loss program.

"It's on ESPN!" are poker and the National Spelling Bee.

"If you ever went to a race you'd change your mind."

Really? I'm annoyed by cars without mufflers next to me at red lights. Why would I pay for hours of noise pollution?

Since this is The South I often just sit quietly while friends comment on their love of all things NASCAR. I try to think of polite questions to ask or feign interest. If I'm feeling snarky, which of course, is hardly ever (wink) I say, "You know that's not a sport."

If you just love stirring up nests of angry hornets, I highly suggest this at your next get together. Men who can't think of one nice thing to say about their wives will argue the fine qualities of their favorite driver to their last breath.

I thought it was a male phenomenon until a 4th of July party a couple of years ago when the topic came up and a young single woman breathlessly informed me that there are Harlequin style romance series based on what goes on at the track, that she was addicted, and I would change my mind about the "sport" (there's that word again) if I read one.

Oh, somebody help me.

A formulaic romance novel combined with car racing makes me think Dante missed a level. 

But wait! There's more!

You can buy NASCAR themed lingerie (Gentleman, start your engines!) and Daytona 500 cologne (which I'm guessing smells like a mixture of motor oil and gasoline with a hint of burning rubber).

I have nothing against race cars and their drivers or their fans. I just don't think it's that difficult. Let's see them drive during the holidays, near a mall, at rush hour next to other drivers who are most likely uninsured with a cranky husband and teenagers. Throw in a barking dog while speeding and looking out for a cop with a radar gun.

Then I'll be impressed.


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