Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Super Bowl of Sunday Posts

It's stupid that the Daytona 500 is referred to as "The Super Bowl of stock car racing." It takes place at the beginning of the season and requires no playoff to get in, really - okay, maybe qualifying counts, but that's a stretch. And don't you know youre competition has a long way to go when you have to make it analogous to a much more mainstream event in order that people recognize it's a big deal. No one says "It's the Daytona 500 of curling." The 500 should be more appropriately called "The Opening Weekend 49ers/Cardinals game of stock car racing." I'd buy that and could at least respect the honesty.

I'll admit I love stock car racing though. It started in the 80's when my dad pointed out that Bill Elliot was beating the shit out of everyone, so I checked it out and was hooked. I've found myself becoming more and more interested come each February and this year I have been paying attention to Daytona talk since November. I watched the 24-hour race two weeks ago, qualifying, several practice sessions and the Nationwide race on Saturday. As the season progresses my attention wanes a bit, but I'll usually try to make sure I'm available to catch most of each weekend's race. The point is, I like to think I'm slightly better than the fan who watches one football (Super Bowl) or baseball (All-Star) game each year then talks as though he knows what's going on. Having said all that, there are still some things I don't get:

- I can't explain what the fuck wedge is.

-Where did the Darrell Waltrip boogity thing come from? It's getting to Chris Berman canned crap level. How does this signature call nonsense keep happening in sports? Whether is Dick Enberg or Marv Albert or Berman, guh. It's akin to seeing adds for new John Travolta movies, at least in that I scream "How does this keep happening?!" at the television.

- There seem to be way more cautions than when I was younger. Obviously safety is a major concern, but does the race really need to stop because a piece of tire is sitting on the apron a mile-and-a-half behind the pack?

For the most part coverage is great, and if there were ever a competition in which sideline, or pit, reporters were a benefit, it's stock car racing. But the lingo still gets a little overwhelming. It's like watching Firefly, in which most conversations sounded like a mixture of Cockney rhyming slang and something from "Deadwood." I doubt the average football fans recognizes a Tampa Two when a commentator refers to it, but football is not efforting for mainstream recogniztion the way NASCAR is.

Olympic things -

I love the Olympics, winter and summer. The opportunity to host the games is not about money, but instead it is a chance to show your country's stuff. Yep, I know the winter Olympics takes a hit because of the elitist nature of the events, but it still involves athletes who have trained harder at their events than I will ever train for anything and a host country putting a lot of hope and joy into sixteen days.

-The Opening Ceremony was amazing. Seeing Canada trot out the likes of Steve Nash and Wayne Gretsky and the national pride surrounding the whole production, as well as the visual boner I got from watching the whole spectacle left me stoked I was able to see it. I'm a sucker for that stuff. Sarah Mclachlan was great and you're a hard-hearted and cynical doucheclown if "Hallelujah" being sung the day an athlete died din't get to you.

-Apolo Ohno's soul patch matters. Sorry, I meant to put a ? instead of a . Apolo Ohno's soul patch matters? I had a girlfriend once suggest I grow one and things were never the same. Jay Marriotti's take is funny when he writes, "a night when he fought off two South Koreans who knocked each other out." That's actually the opposite of fighting someone off. That's sitting ringside, watching two guys beat the hell out of each other, then climbing in the ring and raising the belt for yourself while they're still on the floor with blood all over their faces. Yes, truly magical.

-I'm dreading the period of time in which figure skating is taking up my television space in place of something not obnoxious. Obviously the debate between sport/not sport will always happen, but I'd like to think a sport requires that the unkowledgeable fan knows the winner without a judge telling him who it is. I know figure skating is hard and I can't figure skate as well as they do and figure skaters are better at figure skating than I will ever be at anything, but replace figure skate (ing) with jackhammer (ing) and figure skaters with jackhammerers (?) and you understand my issue.