Saturday, July 18, 2009

Races I Don't Get

Are you all caught up in the excitement of the Tour de France? I've tried to follow the action, but I must be missing something really important.

Half the world seems enthralled with the Tour de France. All I see when I watch snippets of it on the tube is a group of guys riding bikes for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Nothing much seems to happen. Once in a while they have some bikes crash just to keep everyone awake, but beyond that, it's just the boys out for a cycle.

Today, for the third day in a row, the guy in first place was ahead of the second place rider by two seconds and the third place rider by six seconds. How could it be that there was absolutely no change over several hundred miles? I could gain or lose a second just riding down my driveway.

The roads they ride are frequently lined with screaming fans. I assume the spectators have been there for hours just to get a fleeting glimpse of the bikers as they peddle on. At the end of each day's event, the day's leader is chosen to come up on a platform. He gets kisses from two attractive ladies and he is allowed to wear a very special yellow jersey for a day.

I have the same lost feeling when I've watched NASCAR races. I've read it's now the most popular spectator sport in America. All I see is cars racing around and around, with huge, screaming, crowds on hand, just waiting, I assume, for a crash to occur. I think the winner sometimes drinks a cup of milk to celebrate.

America's Cup is another event that the rest of the world takes pretty seriously. All I see is several very expensive boats sailing around for days on end. I've never seen them crash. Maybe they do it at night when it's dark.

I'd probably appreciate these sports more if I were a betting man.


Anonymous said...

some people might feel the same lack of excitement at a hockey, soccor, baseball or football game. Can you imagine that? What about horseracing? LaCrosse? Jai Alai? Rowing?

Incontrovertible said...

I'm not disagreeing that people may have different interests.

I'm asking: "What am I missing in watching the Tour de France, NASCAR and the America's Cup"?

Neverwrong said...

What your missing is the drama that happens between the races...the fans of cycling, NASCAR, and sailing love to talk pre-race and post-race about the competitors and their feuds/personalities/chances of winning. The race is simply a way to keep score of the running saga of the combatants. Just dropping in as a casual fan to one of these races will leave you bored to tears. You need the backstories and history to appreciate the subtleties.