Welcome to this week's edition of Scratching A Niche, where commenter Newbie takes a spin through some of the sports we don't
ever cover. Newbie?
Why I like NASCAR: Stay with me here edition.
This weekend is the 53rd running of the Daytona 500. Sunday; Noon on FOX. I know NASCAR is not popular 'round these parts, but I wanted to take a moment to tell the story of why I watch the Daytona 500 every year.
The first NASCAR race I remember watching was the 2001 Daytona 500
. It was the first NASCAR race on FOX and I had some homework I was avoiding. Yet something compelled me to watch it that day. I remember bits and pieces. I remember Dale Earnhardt giving the finger to Kurt Busch. I don't remember why, but I remember smiling. I remember the big wreck
on the back stretch that flipped Tony Stewart's car into the air as a 185 mph freight train, of 40 other cars, screamed beneath him bouncing his car around like a plastic bag in the wind. I remember Tony walking away, unscathed. I remember everytime they showed Dale Earnhardt, he was a noticeably different driver than everyone else. Even at that time, it felt like he transcended the sport. I remember the final turn as Dale Earnhardt's black #3 car was bumped and shot up the track and in to the wall
. I remember thinking it was no big deal compared to the last one we saw, and then moving on with my day. I remember watching the news later in the evening and hearing Dale Earnhardt had been killed, in a crash that millions of people saw.
For the rest of that season I watched every single race -- wondering if I would have done so had the sports most influential figure not been killed? I doubt it.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of that fateful day, and just like they did during every race of the 2001 season, they will mark lap 3 with silence
. I'm not a gearhead or a redneck; I have all my original teeth and I am sure my wife is not my cousin. I don't get offended by people who don't care for NASCAR and can crack jokes at its, and my, expense. In fact, I don't watch very many races these days. If I do, I flip back and forth between the race and the Twins or something else. But every year I make an effort to watch the Daytona 500, because something compelled me to watch that race on that day, when I had exhibited no interest in auto racing up until that point. So, while I prefer sports like baseball and football, NASCAR will always have my respect.
If you feel the need to make easy jokes about a sport where cars go in circles and just turn left, I understand. I am not a fanatic about the sport. I'm just a guy that found a connection with NASCAR in a way that was unique. And much like my connection with the Twins and Vikings, no matter how bad they are or inept they are, I will always support them through the bond that sports provide. Just because I may not enjoy a sport or activity; I do not believe in putting it down because I know there are many out there that may enjoy it.
Untrue, Unresearched, and Possibly Incendiary Slurs Against Various Niche Sports - RPS Edition
No, No, NO! You are not a sport
. Stop it! You are a game. A kids' game. What are they gonna come up with next a pick-up sticks tournament? Oh, dear lord. Really?
What to watch this weekend:
I don't know. I'm still a little shaken up from the jacks and pick-up sticks tournament thing. I suggest this, watch The Godfather
, then The Wizard of Oz
, then The Godfather II.
I guarantee it will truly mess with your mind.
I promise this feature is not going to be dominated by NASCAR; this is the main race I watch and if something major happens throughout the year I will throw it in. But please feel free to make any other comments or suggestions.