I AM NOT A SPECTATOR - #59

No matter the sport, I’m not much of a spectator. Yeah, I might sit and watch certain things, but generally it takes something special for me to be interested it. Take for instance the baseball World Series. I think I haven’t watched more than a few minutes of baseball all year, if even that. The World Series? Didn’t watch any of it… except for the last game. Because at that point, it was do or die for one of those teams. That was exciting. To know that one simple game defined a whole season kept you on the edge of the seat.

I enjoy watching football. Sixteen professional games a year and each one comes down to win or lose to move forward. Lose one or two and your season can quickly decline.

NASCAR? While I am a car guy and enjoy seeing car “things,” watching a bunch of guys going around in circles for 500 miles isn’t my thing. Call me when it gets down to the last 10 laps and my eyes will be glued on the finish. Maybe that’s why I like drag racing. A mere matter of seconds determines a winner and a loser.

But much of the same goes for the live video feeds from certain events. First of all, I believe they serve a great purpose in a number of ways. When you’re sitting home watch all of the action online, there’s probably a small bit inside of you which says, “I wish I was there.” It does for me. Secondly, it brings the sport into households all over the world. Yes, having the NHRA Mello Yello Series on the Fox network is great, but there’s a whole lot more to the sport than just that. Outfits like MotorManiaTV.com and DragRacer.TV, along with others do a great job showcasing our world. However, for me to sit there and watch continuously… nah… that’s just not me. Oh I might key in for a few minutes to see what’s happening, but that’s about the extent of my “spectating.”

Of course, we’re now getting down to the end of the year when championship battles become… what’s the word… exciting. Not for me maybe but a number of other racers, one of which I was interested in was the Top Sportsman championship. Good friend Sandy Wilkins was the leader in the clubhouse, but Doug Crumlich had one more Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional event to claim while Wilkins was claimed out and couldn’t earn any more points.

This past weekend was the final divisional in Las Vegas, which Wilkins didn’t attend but Crumlich was there. His job? He had to win the event to pass Wilkins. As such, I became an interested spectator online at DragRacer.TV over the weekend. Sitting in my office in Pennsylvania with a three hour time difference, I sat as Crumlich won the first two rounds of eliminations. I didn’t bother calling Wilkins but I’m sure he was sitting on the edge of his seat.

Third round was scheduled to be the last class down the track in Vegas Saturday night. For them, it meant 7:00, for me 10:00. I’m not a go-to-bed-early kind of guy but there are instances where I have a hard time keeping my eyes open past 9:00. This time, between college football games and the computer online in my living room, I kept a close watch on the happenings in Vegas. Finally, TS came to the line and Crumlich was set to be the first pair.

Not sure I’ve ever said this before (yes I really have) but Verizon sucks. Living in the middle of Amish farm country, we have very few options when it comes to internet service. As such, we have Verizon DSL. Over the past two years or so, I have continually complained to Verizon about the poor quality of the service. You’d lose the internet sporadically and most times have to restart the modem in order to get it back. They obviously are not capable of fixing it so it is what it is. We’ve had Hughes.net satellite in the past and that service is just as horrible, not to mention their poor customer service. (That’s a whole other story).

In any event, first pair of TS car come to the line, Crumlich against Gary Miserva. They leave the line, both green, and I think you can guess what happens. Goodbye internet. Are you F—KING kidding me? I’ve been watching the previous class of cars with no problem and now the only one I’m concerned with and POOF! Goodbye internet. You might have heard a giant scream F—K at that point Saturday night but I’m guessing Wilkins would have screamed the same louder had the same happened to him.

Restart the modem and fortunately you can rewind the tape as it were on DragRacer.TV to allow me to see Crumlich win another round and keep his hopes alive.

Fourth round for TS was Sunday with Crumlich being defeated by I’m guessing Wilkins’ new best friend Ken Ratzloff. End of the battle and Wilkins is your NHRA Top Sportsman World Champ after a great year.

Point is this: This weekend’s Finals in Pomona should be equally exciting with three of the four pro classes likely to go down to the final round. I’ll be there in person to spectate. You?