I think sometimes it can be easy for those of us who work in and around the sport to lose a little perspective. We get caught up in the daily BS, and we forget what it is exactly that we do. We aren’t curing cancer, or fighting crime, or making laws. Our job is to travel the country and be apart of the spectacle that is NASCAR. From the drivers, to the crews, the support people, and those who cover the sport, we all need to remember that this is supposed to be fun.
It’s still very early in the season, but so far we’ve seen some very good storylines emerge, and we’ve also encountered some that are not so good. The inspiration for this post came from some of these public stories, and from some things that I’ve encountered in my world. My goal is to not sound preachy or patronizing, but to hopefully help redirect some perspective.
A perfect example of how we should all approach our jobs in this sport is to look at Trevor Bayne. I realize this kid just won the Daytona 500, so he automatically has something to be smiling about. But even before his big splash, when did you ever see this kid without a smile on his face? He’s having a good time doing what he’s doing, and to his credit he’s stayed grounded (hopefully that continues). We all know he still has a long way to go in his development, and there are still going to be some ups and downs, but he’s doing it the right way.
For those of us that work on the competition side of the sport, there is a great deal of pressure to perform. The teams themselves and the companies that sponsor us have a lot riding on what we do. And speaking from my own experience, it can be very easy to let that pressure get to you. But, as I was reminded not long ago by a friend, there are a lot worse things we could be doing to make a living. And I think we would all be better off if we were reminded of that once in a while.
On the flip side of my involvement in NASCAR, I think we’ve seen in the last two weeks that those of us who cover the sport can lose perspective also. I realize that there are codes of conduct and ethics that should be abided by, but why can’t the media work hard, be professional, and have fun too? Many are, after all, making a solid living doing nothing more than being the eyes and ears for the race fans. That sounds like a pretty solid gig to me.
NASCAR is off to Sin City this weekend, and if the first two weekends are any indication, we should be prepared for anything to happen. There have been a lot of positive indicators so far this season for NASCAR, and combined with the product we are getting on the track, we could be in for one hell of a season. What could be better than that?