Thank God for NASCAR! Without the "good ole boys", I would be forced
into sports hibernation for the next three weeks.
This is the time of year when it's a little too early to get really
excited about football, March Madness seems like a year ago and
mid-season baseball games bore me to tears. And just think, the slow
season would have gotten here even earlier had the Carolina Hurricanes
not pulled off an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Championship to get
the entire state hockey crazy.
Sure, there are some other sports going on right now but as hard as
I've tried I just can't bring myself to watch a World Cup soccer game
from start to finish. After about five minutes I need a shot of
Mountain Dew and a bag of Skittles just to stay awake. For years I've
been hearing how soccer is about to take this country by storm. I just
think it's a false alarm. I have nothing against people who love the
game, I just refuse to waste three or four hours of my day to watch a
1-0 game. I'm getting sleepy just thinking about soccer.
As for the Tour de France, The only reason most Americans were even
remotely interested in this event was the fact that Lance Armstrong was
a freak of nature. Watching Lance Armstrong ride a bicycle through
France was like watching an endless Energizer battery commercial. He
just kept going and going and going... and winning and winning and
Don't even get me started on Wimbledon. For the first time in nearly
100 years no American advanced to the quarterfinals. That's not really
that big of a deal as long as I can turn on the TV from time to time to
watch Maria Sharapova in action. But, of course, instead of a second
to the final match in three years, Sharapova gets ousted in the semis
by some dude with long hair... oops, I was just told "that dude" is
actually Amelie Mauresmo.
Even the local sports scene is dead. Taking in a Kinston Indians game
on Thirsty Thursday isn't half bad but I wouldn't pass up a night at
the movies for it. And while I'm sure the action is fast and furious at
many local baseball diamonds, there's something a little weird about a
guy without a kid actually participating in a game just showing up at a
little league park to "watch the boys."
So once again thank God for NASCAR. I perch myself in front of the
television set on Friday afternoons to watch qualifying. Busch Series
racing never used to tickle my fancy but now that almost half the field
of Nextel Cup drivers also race in the Busch Series (see Busch Wackers)
I find myself tuning in for that as well. Of course, the Sunday (or
Saturday night in some cases) race is "must see TV." For nearly four
hours on raceday I'm absolutely glued to the set. Unlike soccer,
tennis and countless other "Olympic Sports" it's something I can really
get excited about. Sure, die-hard fans of the other summer sports think
NASCAR fans are just dumb rednecks and I accept that. But there's a
good reason that television ratings rival that of the NFL and fan
attendance is at or near capacity every week. I have yet to see 200,000
fans pack Centre Court at the All England Club, even to see
NASCAR. It's what gets me through the slow season before the real fun
begins at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in the fall.