Saturday, November 18, 2017

Is Our Sport Dying – Part IV – Recovery Begins Within

Our sport has weathered recessions, depressions, bull markets, bear markets, 9-11, world wars, democratic congresses, republican congresses, politicians, the internet, high ratings, low ratings, negative media, lost tracks, too many rules, too many sanctions, lost ingenuity, new ingenuity, old time safety (sternum belts), new time safety, all because of the first two words of this long sentence – Our Sport!

Mankind was born to race, from first racing our brothers via our feet, to conquering horses and racing them, to adding chariots, to building cars and racing cars. It is in our pedigree, we want to race, we want to win. The Bible even mentions racing – 2nd Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

In the late 1990s through the year 2005 the fastest growing sport was – NASCAR, the leader of our sport. NASCAR was the second-most-watched sport on television behind pro football. Nascar.com was one of the most highly trafficked sports websites. The NASCAR name was so hot that market research firm PSB picked it as the country’s No. 2 brand for 2005, ahead of both Google and iPod. How fast things change, Blackberry was number 1.

So can we recover our sport, the answer is a resounding YES! But it starts within, it starts with each of us looking at ourselves and then looking out for each other. We have to conquer something within ourselves, selfishness, me, me, me. We have to start remembering this is a sport, something to enjoy. We have to remember we are fortunate to be a part of this sport. If you are reading this you have a place in our sport. We have to think of each other. We have to change our attitudes, be positive not negative, be sharing and caring not selfish and woe is me.

We have to learn to respect each other and take responsibility for our actions. We have to eliminate the word blame. Make a mistake, admit it; there is not one person who is perfect. NASCAR makes mistakes, local officials make mistakes, drivers make mistakes, pit crews make mistakes, track owners make mistakes, husbands make mistakes, wives make mistakes, children make mistakes, if we are human we make mistakes. If a mistake is made, bring it up in a reasonable fashion, like you would want to be treated, work with the person or people making the mistake and try to correct it. Let’s change our attitude and be positive about our sport. That may mean mentoring, it may mean discussion, it may mean a variety of things but let’s be positive.

Grudges, get over them, they have been in our sport forever. Apparently, Jeff Gordon held a grudge with Clint Bowyer, leading to the Phoenix fiasco. Just what is a grudge – A grudge is something that is held against someone for something or an issue they haven’t resolved peacefully or discussed. Notice how the definition ends, resolved peacefully or discussed. Change our attitude – let’s get things resolved peacefully – eliminate grudges.

Ever hear the saying if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say it – one of those mother sayings, well guess what, she was right! In both the I-35 Speedway and Lakeside Speedway general rules – Anyone who performs an act or participates in actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing or to I-35 or Lakeside Speedway may receive a penalty. This includes actions outside the racetrack, via social media, facebook, the internet, or any venue which displays this sport in a negative matter. We are responsible to our sport, be positive. Let’s build our sport in a positive image. When you step into any role in this sport you are a leader, (driver, official, crew chief, ticket seller, concession worker) you are being watched, realize that and live like that, this is a sport, we do it for fun.

For the competitors, realize we have to have each other. It is not much fun if we are racing by ourselves, that is called time trials, also known as boring. We have to have each other to compete, and again I quote the bible – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable trophy”. Yes in our sport there is only one winner, but quite honestly everyone that starts a race is a winner. True competitors hate finishing second, also known as the first loser, but the truth is congratulate the winner, and come back next week determined to be the winner, we can’t win them all.

And competition in this sport extends beyond just the racing; it exists between track owners, officials, websites, pit crews, engine builders, chassis builders, media personnel, even race fans with their blankets. We all have to learn to put the sport first, work with each other, treat each other with respect, ask the negative to become positive, actually demand the negative to become positive, thank each other for our part, praise each other for the best parts of our sport and most of all work towards being positive about our sport.

So is our sport dying? The answer lies within us in the sport. We are facing pressures we have never faced before; challenges which we have never experienced, but we can conquer them. First it takes changing our attitudes, maybe doing some unpleasant talking with those who have challenged us. Next let’s get positive, talk positive, thank each other for competing, conquer our within battles because the next step is to conquer our outside battles and working together, having fun, we can once again move this sport towards the top, which is a race itself.

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