The second installment of my NASCAR Life series delves into how friends see the sport. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but most of my friends don’t watch any kind of racing and don’t really understand what I enjoy about it.
As a fan and a member of the community I have spent my entire life around it in one form or another. Despite this I can’t think of one close friend I have that watches the sport, or even keeps up with it. And this includes the friends I have, who also have family in the sport.
Lets take for instance my friend David (not his real name). David watches football endlessly. He is one of the people that I know that actually regularly watches the NFL Network. He also watches the occassional baseball game; but football is where his heart is at. I have spent many Sundays trying to have the conversation with him about why NASCAR is a sport, and why the fan base is actually much larger and diverse than he thinks it is. Never the less he doesn’t get it.
Another friend Alex (who is actually composition of many people I know) her dad works in the sport. Despite having been to many races, in the pits, the race shops, it is of no interest to her.
Generally I don’t talk about the sport with these people because they really could care less. My friends though know that it is something that is important to me and really is part of my daily life. They value my interest, even asking me questions if I’m watching a race. It has become such a part of my personality, a couple weeks ago, at a get together I wasn’t able to attend, one of my friends turned on the Nationwide race, in honor of me.
Beyond my friends, my extended family is really perplexed at the lifestyle. They don’t understand the sport, so they don’t really understand the job. When my father first got involved with the sport my mothers family really had a hard time understanding why he was doing what he was doing. It wasn’t that they didn’t support it, they just really didn’t know why we would make such a drastic life change.
I know my story is not unlike others in the sport and out of it. To those who spend their entire vacations at Speedweeks in Daytona, or in Charlotte for All-Star and Coke 600 weekends, or to those who have given up everything to pursue the dream of working in the sport, I understand. As for my friends, I have come to realization that they will never fully enjoy NASCAR and I’m fine with that.