15 December 2010

Is NASCAR A Sport: An Essay

Some questions in life will never be answered. Like why Judah Friedlander is in the opening credits of 30 Rock, why panhandlers ask for money as they're smoking a cigarette, or why people say the Cowboys are 'America's Team'. But today let's talk about this one: is NASCAR a sport?

To do this we shall analyze the elements of the definition like any good attorney would. Dictionary.com defines the word "sport" as "an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often a competitive nature, such as racing*, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc." *Obviously 'racing' here is referring to running or cycling or the like.

First, is NASCAR an athletic activity? I don't think so. Sitting in a car is the same as sitting on a couch in my book. I mean, the drivers only break a sweat because they wear those goofy jumpsuits and it's hot inside the car. You could be 500 pounds and still drive a race car (if you could fit through the window.)

Next, does NASCAR require skill? Well, does it require skill for you or I to cruise on the interstate? I've been doing it for 15 years and it doesn't seem all that special to me. Plus when I do it, I actually turn right once in a while. (Conversely, one could argue that it does require some degree of talent to talk with a drawl.)

Next, does NASCAR require physical prowess? Well, note the fact that Dale Earnhardt was 50 in his last race and you tell me. As long as grandpas are behind the wheel, I'll have to go with no. (No offense, Dad Dad.)

Last, is NASCAR is competitive in nature? I'm actually going to concede this one but only because of my favorite scene from 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story where young Dale exclaims to his father in a moment of passion, "All I wanna do is race, Daddy!" Love it! I also really liked Ricky Bobby's and Cal Naughton's sweet "Shake 'n Bake!" move in the NASCAR documentary, Talladega Nights. (Who knew that a documentary would be able to capture that raw, competitive nature of NASCAR drivers so accurately?)

So in summary, NASCAR only meets one out of the four elements of the definition of "sport." Other arguments that don't help its case include the fact that it's boring and a complete waste of time. Also, I don't think people even watch NASCAR. You might say, "What about those large stadiums full of cheering (and smelly) fans?" I would say, "CGI. How do you think they had full stands of people in the background of Fever Pitch? We all know no one would have sat through the filming of that crap (or paid actual money to watch the movie.)"

Now that we know NASCAR isn't a sport, we can get back to answering more important questions. Like, why every Notre Dame home game is televised on NBC, if Michael Vick still has a thirst for dog fighting, or how people actually say to themselves, "I need a new car. Why not a Pontiac Aztek?"


Jay said...

Answer 1. Tex Schramm, who coined the phrase as a marketing ploy to combat another NFL owner named Jack Kent Cooke.

Answer 2. No, someone that size could not fit through that window.

Glad I could help.

silentbob14 said...

Nice article ;]

Connor Mason said...

There are a few things that I would like to point out. First of all, NASCAR is a very athletic activity, because of the intense G-forces generated by traveling at 200-210 mph around a banked track. The G-forces (occasionaly reaching 4 G's) make turning the steering wheel very hard. Secondly, NASCAR does require skill. To follow behing other cars and pass so close, a huge amount of mental awareness is required, not to mention that driving at 200 mph+ withing 1 foot of other cars that may spin out at any second could make a person very nervous. Thirdly, NASCAR does require physical prowess. The reason for this is that a person's body has to be very fit to be able to take the strain of 3.5-4 G's for any amount of time, let alone 1-2 hours. Most NASCAR drivers do full body workouts for 1 hour every day before a race. So, in conclusion, NASCAR is a sport. But even though I just defended NASCAR, I honestly don't see the attraction of watching cars go around in circles for two hours (aside from the fact that they occasionally crash). If you want real racing, watch Formula 1.