Friday, December 28, 2007

Question of the Week

Maurice, Cincinnati, OH
Subj: NASCAR vs. NBA
I get so sick and tired of my co-workers dogging me on my love for the NBA! And what is more perplexing is their infatuation with NASCAR. I'm not trying to knock NASCAR, even I delight in seeing the crashes on Sportscenter, but is it really a sport? On one hand, you have possibly the best athletes in the world, and on the other you have average guys driving super cars. . . .Is there really any comparison?

Superb question, Maurice. Although I’m not about to paint a giant number 3 on the side of my barn, I do believe NASCAR is a bona-fide sport. After all, it’s covered in the sport section, it’s broadcast on ESPN and it fulfills Merriam-Webster’s requirement as being “a physical activity engaged in for pleasure.” Now, with that said, I’m just as adamant in my belief that NASCAR drivers are NOT athletes. In my opinion, athletes are finely-conditioned physical specimens with exceptional agility, stamina and strength, not gas-huffing hillbillies who spend more time going around in circles than a one-winged pigeon. Consider, for instance, the curious case of James Hylton. The NASCAR veteran posted the 15th fastest time in the final practice session for the 2007 Daytona 500 despite being 72 years old. Something like that would never happen in the NBA or NFL, where an older, less athletic competitor would likely drop dead before halftime. Until drivers have to start peddling their cars around the track like Fred Flintstone, I’ll always consider NASCAR to stand for “Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks”.