That whole “Are NASCAR drivers athletes? Is NASCAR really a sport?” controversy has reared its ugly head again. Of course, I guess maybe these two questions shouldn’t be lumped together. I guess there are some sports in which a person can compete without actually being an athlete. All the same, both are questions that stick in the craw, so to speak, of NASCAR competitors and fans.
Again, that “Is NASCAR really a sport?” question was raised by an athlete in another professional sport. Los Angeles Laker Nick Young responded to a question from celebrity gossip/news site TMZ.com with that question. I guess he learned nothing from that whole Donovan McNabb thing when he questioned the athleticism of NASCAR drivers awhile back.
Apparently, at a softball game recently, Young was asked by TMZ about sports affected by rain. When Young didn’t have much of a response, the person from TMZ mentioned NASCAR, to which Young questioned if NASCAR was even a sport.
Oh, Nick Young, you just had to go there. Since he was asked during a rain delay at a celebrity charity softball game, softball should have been an easy response. Baseball, even? How about golf? If he would have given any of those answers, any answer at all, he probably wouldn’t have even been asked about NASCAR. Maybe to Young, softball, baseball and golf aren’t sports, either.
Six-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson wasn’t able to convince McNabb that drivers were athletes with a ride-around prior to a race, and I can understand that. McNabb was a passenger, not a driver, and it was a short trip. McNabb wasn’t, himself, driving at race speed for 400 or 500 miles inches away from cars all around him. So, I don’t think a ride-around is going to change Young’s opinion either, but I digress.
The Merriam-Webster Dictonary, or at least its website, provides three definitions of sport as a noun. Here are the three:
1.) a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other
2.) sports in general
3.) a physical activity (such as hunting, fishing, running, swimming, etc.) that is done for enjoyment
Wonder if Young considers hunting and/or fishing sports? Anyway, back to the subject at hand.
Definition No. 2 doesn’t really explain anything, but I threw it in because, well, it was one of the definitions provided. I think the others definitely fit. The sticking point for most naysayers is that whole “physical activities” part. I guess some people will never understand the impact of the G-forces and extreme heat on the drivers’ bodies, and concentration under those conditions required by competitors. It’s one of those situations of not knowing what someone else is truly going through without walking a mile, or driving 500 miles, in his/her shoes.
Young may have dissed NASCAR, but I guess there is a positive spin the sanctioning body could put on all this — NASCAR’s mainstream enough to make it on TMZ. Maybe that’s saying something. Did I just refer to being on TMZ as a positive thing? Yes, I think I actually did. I may need to get my head examined.
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