This a NASCAR year that the Casa Del Sankary. If you look at my viewing pattern over the last several years I like to watch NASCAR in odd numbered years. I take the even numbered years off because frankly the season’s too damn long. I need a break.
I also need to be motivated because, and I’m dropping the f-word again here, frankly NASCAR is one of those things that I really want to like. But unfortunately the actual activity of watching NASCAR doesn’t live up to the hype of the idea of watching NASCAR. And unfortunately for NASCAR, my sentiments are very common. Their fan base has been dropping faster than a Tony Stewart Pole start.
But what the hell, I was bored and this is the week before the Super Bowl of Racing, the Daytona 500 so, I thought I check in on the qualifying on Sunday. Now typically, as in every other year, qualifying for the 500 involves a 20 lap race with some forced pit stops, followed by two lap solo qualifying runs later in the week, and wrapping up with a Thursday night race for last spots in the grid. Complicated? Sort of but the basic rules are the winners of the first race get the pole and first few spots, the solo runs fill out the rest of the field, and I’m not sure what the last couple races are for. Fill the stands for another day I think.
This year however the qualifying process changed dramatically. Now they’re doing “group qualifying”. Jeff Gordon won the pole. I couldn’t tell you how, I have no idea how it worked. Apparently neither did anyone else including the other drivers, the whole process got ripped in the press. They’re really trying everything to add interest to the sport. Good luck.
So for all my muted excitement about NASCAR, fact is I’m really only good for about 10 races or until our first 60 degree day happens on a Sunday in Minnesota. After that I find better things to do than watch for 4 hours every weekend. If you follow NASCAR at all you know their ratings have been plummeting year over year to what Neilson calls “historic lows” as “rating before we were on national TV” lows. Attendee at races, also down. Most tracks are removing seats, installed during the glory days in the mid 2000’s to keep prices up and now show masses of empty seats on race day.
That is the problem with golf too. I used to play a lot of golf back in the day. Even had some idea that I enjoyed it. But really.. it was a lot of long afternoons chasing a ball around course that typically left me feeling worse about myself after putting out on 18 than before I teed off on the first hole. Who needs that, not to mention I was usually about $100 lighter. Golf is dead if you ask me. The bearded hipsters I see all over the place have no interest in the game. It certainly doesn’t help that when they get to the golf course they find themselves on the home turf of the very people they despise, the country club set that gave them shit all through high school. But they do like a nice walk in the park on a sunny day, so, bless the little bitter beer swilling underachievers, they created a golf alternative, Disc Golf. I would have called it frisbee golf, but apparently that dates me more than my wristwatch. But truth be told Disc Golf is a handy little sport for those kids. You can typically play for free, you can certainly carry a beer or a dube with you while your out there, and the difference between great and mediocre is much narrower than it is in real golf. Not that the hipsters haven’t allowed themselves to be sucked in to merchandising, as one guy I work with tried to explain to me the differences between a “driver” and a “putter” when it comes to what are essentially plastic plates. Me thinks the differences are in his mind and he probably throws the discs differently because the name stamped on them, but that’s just me.
The other appeal to frisbee golf is you can complete a round or two in 20 minutes (give or take an hour) get back to your LARP League or your magic cards. It’s better that way given that they all have vaccine induced ADD/ADHD anyway.
All this collective ADD in society has also killed baseball, one my favorite sports. Baseball today actually is killing me as well. Seems to me that when I was a kid a baseball game was about 25 minutes long. Seemed like that anyway. OK so really it was about 2 hours long, plenty of time to have a beer and take in some sun with 20K other office slackers on a Wednesday afternoon.
Now, feels like games are longer than cricket matches, which I’m told can take 3 days to complete. Well in Britain no one works anyway and folks have days on end to spend at a match drinking beer, and then sobering up in order to drink even more beer. But here in US, we got shit to do. Sitting on my ass at a Twins game for 5 hours.. (and paying $20 for a a beer) games are horribly long and drawn out. These days we have to endure not one, but TWO national anthem breaks, the field guys come out every inning to groom the infield as opposed every Sunday when I was a kid, we have to stop in the middle of innings for TV breaks and character races, recognize the firefighter who rescued a cat out of a tree.. and pitchers… pitchers today take minutes between pitches. I so miss Rich Reuschel when he was pitching for the Giants games were 1:50. Almost felt like I wasn’t getting my monies worth. Big Daddy was the last of the efficient pitchers in my book. he didn’t want to be there any longer than he had too. And he threw fast, meaning he’d get the ball back from the catcher and BOOM deliver the next pitch. Part of that was Rick wasn’t overpowering per se, but I think he realized that if he threw fast and mixed it up.. batters would be confused, and it worked. For him and for me.
Now a days I couldn’t get my kids to baseball game.. the hate the game. They think only old men watch it. And no one plays it either in this country so I’m declaring it dead.
Which leaves me with a huge gaping ADD issue this summer, how to keep me interested and engaged in something longer than 15 minutes. Suggestions? Send a note to Mrs S, she’s worried.