Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Racing on TV: B-O-R-I-N-G

Ok, so this will be blog #8 and I must say I'm surprised that it's taken this long for me to sound off on this topic. Those of you who read the title and are clinching your fists ready to punch me...I know who you are and you know who you are. Racing: NASCAR, Nationwide, IRL, F1, Craftsmen Truck, hell even that stupid Purdue go-kart race that they try to pawn off as rivaling the Little 500...I don't care. It's all VERY boring to watch.  

Let's start with the circular aspect of the sport.  We can go with oval too if you want to get technical.  The fact that the track is one big oval does not lend itself well to much variation.  Come down the straight away, hang a left, straighten it out a bit, hang another quick left, go straight, hang a left, and then after straightening a bit, hang another left again...Hey we've completed a lap, wasn't that fun?  No.  But at least us viewers can take solace in the fact that we've got a whole other 100, 200, or 300 laps to go...Ugghhh!  I've got to give it to Formula 1 racing a little bit here; at least their tracks are consistently curvier and more interesting than the typical oval track.  But still not exactly riveting.  My point is that watching cars do the same thing over and over again without much incident at all can put a viewer right to bed.  You know those things on the Twilight Zone that swirl around and send the people on the show into a trance?  Very similar feeling with watching the cars go around in circles.  That's why you have people like me just waiting for an explosion, crash, shit even a fender bender.  I realize that's a rather morbid hope due to the serious injuries that could ensue, but forgive me.  

Then we've got the so-called "big" moves that occur during the race that a viewer should supposedly get excited about.  Listen...watching a car pass another car might be good for some, but it doesn't excite me as a viewer.  You have these NASCAR announcers practically jumping up and down in the booth with excitement when cars pass other cars late in the race.  For me, I don't get any more excited watching that than watching a car pass a truck on Highway 65.  Excitement comes with touchdowns, interceptions, goals, 3-point shots, dunks, home runs, fights, etc.  But I would never group anything a race car driver does into that category. 

If the content isn't enough to bore you or put you to sleep, let's discuss the sheer time commitment.  My TV guide says that the Autism Speaks 400, the next NASCAR series race, will eat up 4 and 1/2 hours of your time on Sunday: Be sure to tune in 1:30-6 pm ET!!!! And I've seen longer race times.  But are you kidding me?  I mean if we're talking 2 college basketball games in that slot, sure i'll use that for my afternoon entertainment.  Unpredictable, interesting, fun...gotta love basketball.  But 270 minutes of racing?  Holy lord!  That is just either a recipe for boredom beyond belief or a hell of a long afternoon siesta.  Call me when the last two laps are on the tube and then maybe I'll wake up and hope for a crash!     

I have to say that while I think the "sport" is really rough to watch, I have mad respect for the drivers.  They participate in a high risk activity that requires a lot of skill and strategy.  I'm glad to concede that because it's 100% true.  But to the fueling racing fans reading this....that wasn't my point for this blog.  My point is that from a viewer's perspective, there are dozens upon dozens of things in international sports that I watch before sitting down to watch a race.  It is B-O-R-I-N-G.  Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go take a nap...I just talked about watching racing for too long.   

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