More on NASCAR

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Throughout the book St. Dale the point is made of how most people regard fans of NASCAR. It seems that NASCAR gives those who are interested in hockey, soccer, and rugby someone to look down upon as rubes, rednecks, and somehow less than creditable.

I've thought a lot about this and it strikes me as absurd that people who can extol the virtues of jumping on a lump of pigskin, or striking a horsehide (I know, no longer) ball with a stick of ash would have the audacity to look down on anything.

Personally, I have no time or interest in any of it--it all strikes me as a form of bread and circuses with which I can readily dispense--I've too many time-wasters in my life anyway. But, I cannot fault those who enjoy these things. And in some ways I would love to be able to emulate them. I would have so much more to discuss with other "normal" men whose thoughts seem to channel in one of several ruts (pun intended). But it does provide ready entrance into the society of men in some circles, and I do not have that.

I also don't regard NASCAR racing as a sport as such (which is not intended as a criticism and may reveal only my ignorance of the matter). It may require great endurance--it does require great skill. (Think about being in a perpetual traffic jam at between 90 and 180 mph.) It apparently requires a great deal of knowledge and strategy--I'm astounded by some of the things that racers appear to consider. NASCAR racing doesn't seem to be a sport, but it is a contest--a legitimate one.

So were I to undertake to examine contests including atheletic sports and car racing for their virtues, I tend to think I might find more to admire in the skill and knowledge of a racer than in two teams of people who use each other as crash-test dummies.

Consider this just a plea for those inclined to look down upon others for what they enjoy to look first in the mirror and see what you enjoy boiled down to its essentials. I don't claim to have any great understanding of any sport or contest and I often wish I did. But I admire the enthusiasm of those who do participate--I find it refreshing and oddly, another way of encountering God. In truly allying yourself with a team or with a contest or with a person you live in that moment and in a sense abandon yourself to the joy that God has opened for you. Sports have the great value of what Disputations is inclined to call eutrepalia. I don't get it, but I rejoice in those who do. I only ask them to look kindly upon the enthusiasms of others.

(I guess my "sport" of choice ranks close to dead last in everyone's estimation of the worthwhile. But where else can you see water as blue as God's eye and people balanced on the edge of eternity, falling, falling, falling so gracefully, so perfectly, so evenly into the wide blue water.)

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Well said, well-written. I guess the cult of Dale Earnhardt, if it is a cult, is no different than the cult of Michael Jordan back in the '90s.

And, as you say, there's little difference between basketball and car racing.

Well Steven, I too never expected you to wax grandiloquently about restrictor plates and St Earnhardt on FC! However, I must admit to once having been cajoled into being chief mechanic on a SCCA raceteam in the summer of '75. Besides being one heckuva rip-roaring experience (our man placed 2nd), I must say it was gratifying to observe such a deep sense of fraternity among participants. In my experience, everyone seemed generous, courteous, and even humble. Not too bad for a misunderstood group of our citizenry. Btw, in about 3-1/2 months I expect to be "incommunicado" as I dust off the old TV set (hope it still works) and settle in for the Indy 500. Seriously.

Dear Joachim,

The Lord works in mysterious ways,
His wonders to perform.

If anyone had ever asked me, I would have agreed with all. But no one asked, and so I suppose the question never came up. I delight in learning to love something new.



Dear Joachim,

Let's change that last line. Let's rather say I delight in seeing my own ignorance and prejudice for what it is. Humility is always a virtue fairly distant from my door--so it's good to be reminded that I have a very great deal to be humble about.



As one who lives within audible distance of the Chicagoland Speedway, I'll be the first to tell you the major thing about NASCAR that some folks dislike: it's boring. When the flags go down, it's cars racing around in circles. When the flags go up, it's cars driving in circles. Slowly. Races can last for a long, long time, and unless you're really "in" to cars, you might as well catch ESPN's footage at the end of the day showing you the major accidents and the final 100 yards.

It's also been my observation that NASCAR fans drink harder than Bears fans. And that's a tough thing to do.

I think the major reason "hockey, soccer, and rugby" fans like to mock NASCAR is that they've finally found a "sport" more boring than their own. :)

The whole "redneck" stereotype that comes along with NASCAR does bug me, though. If you're going to criticize something, at least justify it on its own merits.

Dear Josh,

You make my point precisely and succinctly. You say that NASCAR racing is boring--that may or may not be true. But is it more boring that watching twelve or thirteen men stand around and wait for an interaction between two of them. The most boring time I've spent at any event was watching professional baseball.

Each person will find his or her own excitement in whatever it is they value--whatever skills they admire, whatever "bug" they catch. I have yet to see any professional sport that isn't the cause of constant yawning (with the exception of Surfing, which I'd hardly call "professional" anything).

So you contend the NASCAR is more boring than watching the Bears. That is true for you and may be true for many. I'd be hard-pressed to decide--I think ultimately the decision would rest on noise-level--boring and tolerable, or boring and brain-liquifying (perhaps I exaggerate the intensity of noise at a NASCAR race). But for a great many people, NASCAR is hands-down more interesting than whatever it is the Bears play. (Is that a baseball team or football? Honestly don't know.)

Anyway, thanks for the comment. And thank you especially for the important note--be bored by the sport, but don't judge those who do enjoy it. That seems very important. We should not use any discriminatory means to make ourselves more important. Just as I have no right to look down on those who really enjoy professional sports (though the attraction eludes me) so no person following Christ should make judgments regarding the worth of a person. Everyone is infinitely valued and cherished by God. That's the bottom line. NASCAR, Football, Curlilng, Bacci, or professional wrestling fan--it doesn't matter, God values each equally and when we set up prejudicial barriers we are hurting the Father's heart.



There are no boring sports. Only bored spectators.

It's also been my observation that NASCAR fans drink harder than Bears fans. And that's a tough thing to do.

That drinking levels vary among sports is an important variable in determining accurate boredom levels, since everyone knows that while it's easy to drink and be boring, it's harder to drink and be bored.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 21, 2005 5:45 PM.

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