Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sports Bashing

I am a sports fan. My favorite teams are The New England Patriots; Boston Red Sox and Dale Earnhardt Junior (NASCAR). Being from Boston, I feel I owe respects to the Celtics and sometimes to the Bruins.

With that said, the first time I heard real bad team bashing was at my first Red Sox game. The guy I was with and I were walking down Lansdowne Street and I heard a roar from the crowd, "Yankee's Suck; Yankee's Suck: Yankee's Suck."

Being a new Sox and sports fan, I didn't get it and thought the silliest thing, "Oh my God, we're playing against the Yankee's?"

He laughed at me.

I knew the Yankee's were a big deal team and the Red Sox fans were not supposed to like the Yankee's. I just didn't know that everywhere you went in Boston, you'd hear "Yankee's Suck; Yankee's Suck!"

In the years that I lived in Boston, all I heard, no matter where I went was, "Yankee's suck."

Patriots win the Super Bowl, "Yankee's Suck."

Bruins are struggling, "Yankee's Suck."

Red Sox win the World Series, "Yankee's Suck."

No matter what, no matter where you go in the city of Boston, be prepared to hear the chant.

A group of college girls got together one day and decided to make Red Sox t-shirts for women. Their most popular one was "Real women don't date Yankee's fans."

Yankee bashing in Boston gets old.

I have become a fair weather Boston sports fan recently. I've been more committed to NASCAR for many reasons. I'm quickly learning that bashing a driver in NASCAR is alive and well and if you want to support someone, be prepared to hear rude and disturbing comments.

Dale Jr. is voted the most popular driver yet he's also the most criticized. Non Junior fans have a lot to say and are not afraid to say it.

Spring of 2010
Same goes for other drivers. Some people have the rudest comments to make about Jimmie Johnson, who won 4 Championships in a row.

When I lived in New York, I heard horrible comments made about Boston sports teams. I got used to it.

I was going to say, sometimes I miss being a diehard music fan. No one is rude in the music business. But that's not true; Kenye West proved that at the MTV Music Awards last September.

I guess you could say that if you're in the lime light, people will be rude and have nasty things to say. If you're going to be a fan of anyone in the lime light, you just got to roll with the punches; take the comments in and ignore them because the truth is, I'm sure everyone has something rude to say about a team, a driver, a band, a singer, an actor a movie, a Politician, a writer or heck, a blogger.

Hopeless Celebrity Romantic

Loudon, NH June 22, 2010

I always said that if I met a celebrity, I wouldn't be that weirdo that got freaky, crazy, silly and speechless.

I met Bret Michaels of Poison when I turned 15; it was before his show in Springfield, MA. I got my picture & autograph and walked away bouncing up and down like the happy school teen I was. You could say that was the best 15th birthday a teen could have. As I stood in front of him, I was speechless.

This weekend, NASCAR is in New Hampshire. It's a four day event for the diehard fans. The campers come in on Thursday as do the haulers (18 wheelers). Some of drivers have promo's in town so they come up on Thursday's and they also need to be prepared for practice and qualifying on Friday.

Tonight was a free night at the track for the fans. There's a hauler/rig parade. All the big rigs drove by parade style, hooting their horns and giving us fans a chance to take pictures. Kind of cute, kind of corny.

Oh, did I mention, I forgot my ‘expensive' camera at my sister's in North Carolina. Yeah, I know, what the hell was I thinking? Thank God for cell phones!

My dad made a comment that tonight a driver would be at a local seafood restaurant near the track and close to my home. I might've forgot to mention, I live 20 minutes from the track so that almost explains why I'm a fan. So I decide to stop by this bar to see who's there. I really was tempted to stay for a drink but I changed my mind when I realized it was packed with people I didn't know and there wasn't a free seat at the bar, that always turns me away.

Then I look in front of me and who do I see? A legendry driver; to NASCAR, he's known as 'The King.' His name is Richard Petty. Now, as I said in the beginning, I never wanted to be the ‘fan' fool so I didn't do much except stop in my tracks, thinking, 'Oh my God!' I was tempted to take a picture of him from afar and then I thought, "is that rude?"

So, I decide to leave. I figured I missed my chance to meet him. I walked out the way I walked in, through the bar. As I kept walking outside, believing I missed my chance, guess who walks out of the restaurant part? You guessed, Mr. Petty. Again, I'm not a fool so I didn't do anything but then he turned to look my way and of coarse I waved and said hi.

Then, I laughed. I walked up to him and suddenly, I was shaking his hand and trying to speak. I said, "Hi Mr. King."

Yes, I said, "Hi Mr. King."

His name is Richard Petty; Mr. Petty.

He laughed with me and put his arm around me to hug me and to calm me down; then he kissed the top of my head.

I didn't know what to say so I asked for a picture. I got my picture.

Now, I love his driver, #9, Bud guy, Kasey Kahne. When I say that, I mean, he owns a team and one of the guys that drives for his team is Kasey. (if you need to know more, go ahead and ask and I'll explain).

I also love Dale Junior. So, if I was silly and speechless around Mr. King, I mean, Mr.Petty, how the hell will I react around Kasey, or Jeff, or heck, Dale?

I had hoped I wasn't hopeless but maybe I am.

Some of my friends are ‘hopeless romantics,' I'm not but I guess I'm ‘hopeless celebrity romantic!'

Sprint Cup Drivers Take on Nationwide

Bristol, Tennessee: August 2010
There is a difference between Nationwide racing and Sprint Cup racing.

Nationwide, once known as Busch series, is a division usually set up for the new guys (*plz see comment below for more info.) You can race in Nationwide as long as you want; rumor has it, you can skip the series but I haven't heard of a driver that has. It's a chance to get started in racing stock cars. Danica Patrick has been racing Indy Cars for a few years and now, she's in the Nationwide series for Junior Motorsports this year; looks like she'll be racing again in 2011.

Sprint Cup Series is for the elite. The best of the best (and the richest) drivers qualify for this race. They are the most paid and the most popular; they even get big sponsors like Budweiser, DuPont, National Guard, M&M, Fed Ex, UPS and others.

On Friday night, it seemed as though many Sprint Cup drivers took on the Nationwide race in Bristol, Tennessee.

Is it fair that the best of the best take on the new guys?

I guess it depends. I do know baseball players often go back to the minor league teams to brush up on their skills, I assume the same can be said for race car drivers.

There are several divisions of NASCAR; Truck, Stock Nationwide & Sprint Cars and Whalen Modified.

Kyle Busch races trucks and Nationwide as well as Sprint.

The Whalen Modified series is a different car. One unique car with a fast motor. Guys like Rob Summers, my friend and niece's Godfather, and brother-in-law (owner of NUSKOOL RACE ENGINES) race in the Modified series. My brother- in-law even builds motor's for these cars for a living. Now and then, a Sprint Cup driver, like Ryan Newmen will race a Modified car. In New Hampshire, last June 26th, it was Newmen who won the Modified race.

On July 3rd, Dale Earnhardt Junior raced a special run in Daytona. He decided to do a Family Reunion of sorts and drove his late father's legendary #3 car; he even took on the Wrangler sponsor with the blue and yellow scheme. He won that race.

Friday, Dale Junior raced the Junior Motorsports number 88 Real Tree car in the Nationwide Race in Bristol.

A lot of Sprint Cup drivers took the track this Friday. Joey Logano; Kasey Kahne; Kyle Busch; Brad Keselowski; Carl Edwards; Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler were also among the Cup drivers to take the field.

On Friday, Tony Eury, also known as Pops to Jr and Jr Nation, was Dale Junior's crew chief. He used to be Dale's crew chief when he raced the #8 car for DEI (his dad's company Dale Earnhardt Inc.). Dale started 34th and was lapped twice. Then he got free pass to get back on the leader lap and kept on driving forward.

Kasey Kahne was caught in a corner and didn't have anywhere to go but up against the wall with two wheels. After a quick trip to the infield care center, he came out alright but didn't get to finish the race.

Ryan Newmen slammed into the wall pretty hard and finished somewhere around 37th.

Kyle, Carl and Brad battled it out for first during the 120th or so laps.

Dale Junior made it to the top 5 by lap 218.

Somewhere along the race, I lost Dale Junior's radio and suddenly, I felt lost.

Sure it's cool that Twitter updates from fans and Journalists were keeping me in the loop and I was hearing the excitement on my cell phones PRN radio but I was missing it. Of course, it was a race that he was doing well in and then...I hear there's a spin out; was it Junior?

He did not spin out; he was racing hard with Joey Logano, also known as JoLo or #20 and JoLo spun around and got back on track. The other drivers crashed and caused a bit of a mess.

Twenty three laps to go and he (Dale Jr.) was 2nd. To think he started out shitty, he was lapped twice and now he's about to win.

In the end, Kyle Busch once again won the race; it was his second win this week. He won on Wednesday in the Truck series. Like him or hate him, he is one hell of a driver, in many divisions.

Dale Junior finished 4th. Let's hope his race and finish is just as strong in the Sprint Cup Series this Saturday night in Bristol.


Saturday night's race started with Jimmie Johnson on the pole and ended with Kyle Busch winning his 3rd race of the week, NASCAR's first sweep in history.

Dale Junior finished 13th with Jeff Gordon ahead of him in 12th position.

A sports fan, or not

Tonight was the final season race in NASCAR...before the CHASE for the SPRINT Cup.There are 10 more races before the end of the season and for the final Cup.

This means the top 12 drivers of year get a shot of winning the big deal trophy. Chase and points are complicated and since this is PNN, I can be honest and say after a few drinks tonight, I don't wish to get into details!

However, I'm in awkward position. As a fan, I should be pissed by the fact that my #1 driver had a horrible night. He fell behind a few laps and all things that could go wrong, did go wrong except he didn't crash (that's probably because he's a good driver). Then my #2 driver somehow fell off radar too; it upsets me to see my favorite drivers fall so far behind but when I stop and think about it....I'm into NASCAR for a few reasons and one of them is seriously for journalism purposes and I'm put into that awkward position of feeling like I shouldn't feel for any of the athletes.

It's odd.

Tonight, my #3 driver won first place, his name is Denny Hamlin. Driver of the #11, FedEx car; and I was so excited because he beat my biggest rival. I was cheering because Mr. M&M, driver of the #18 car didn't win first place then I thought, I can't feel hate toward him. Mr. M&M is a good driver but as a fan...I don't want to be the M&M fan.

As a music fan, there's no need to be a rival of this band or that, is there? I never felt the pressure of being a loyal fan or not being a loyal fan if I liked bands A, B or Z. But as a sports fan, I feel like I have to like 1 team; 1 athlete and no one else. It gets complicated.

My dad always trained me to be the people pleasure, if all of your friends like team A then cheer for team A. Just shut up and do it, he pretty much would say. It keeps the peace. Although he's right; I kind of feel like I should have a right to say I like team B in a room full of team A fans.

As I pay more attention to NASCAR and as I learn more about the sport and get to know the drivers better by paying attention to interviews and such, I'm learning that I like a lot of the drivers. Including the 1 that my dad really doesn't like. To keep the peace, as he taught me, I should say I don't like Jimmy Johnson. To keep the peace in Junior Nation, I should say I don't like Jimmie Johnson.

I feel the pressure to say I don't like him but gosh darn it, the dude is cool. He's always doing something impressive and the guy has amazing public appearance. I listened to him on his scanner tonight and holy moly what a professional he is; a part of me feels obligated to say No to the #48 team but deep down inside, I know this 4 time Cup Champion is someone to admire ... let's not forget to mention, he named his new born daughter (that he had this past summer) Genevieve Marie ... my real birth name is Marie Genevieve. What a way to win me over.

Let's talk about driver of the #24 car, Jeff Gordon. He's also one driver that I've once felt obligated to dislike. If you pay attention to the articles I'll be posting on a NASCAR site, Skirts and Scuffs, I will be covering Jeff Gordon during the Chase for the Cup. I'm excited, I did volunteer to cover Jeff and I do think this guy is someone to admire, someone to respect and someone who really does have a chance to win the Championship this year, he did after all, win 4 of them already.

So for the next ten weeks, my heart will break for Dale and Kasey and I'll feel a natural instinct to cheer for Denny; obligated to boo for Jimmie and I'll be paying attention, living, breathing and kind of sorta stalking Jeff Gordon.

So maybe deep inside my heart of hearts I'm either Not a sports fan because I like a lot of the drivers; or maybe I finally figured out how to be a real journalist; to not have a real negative opinion about the athlete and to know when to just simply, 'shut the F up.'

Look, NASCAR is different then football or baseball. I am a Patriots and Red Sox fan because I seriously grew up in New Hampshire and I lived 6 amazing years, yes the years both teams won Super Bowls and World Series, in Boston. So I'm almost biased. I cheer for my home team. Now that I'm living in Charlotte, 20 minutes from Panther's stadium, I feel like both an outcast and lost without my daily "NESN" news.(NESN stands for New England Sports News) Thank God for the internet!

My question to all of you sports fans out there...did anything I say make sense to you? Do you ever feel an obligation to cheer - or boo - for someone because everyone else is?