Sep 272005
Authors: Brett Okamoto

Before I even get started I just want to say that, even though I don't see NASCAR as a legitimate sport, I still think we should all respect those who participate in it.

I mean come on, how many people do you know who can drive in a big circle?

I'm sorry, I just can't promote something that requires no physical effort as a sport.

Chess – not a sport. Billiards – likewise. Darts – man they are sweet, but no – not a sport.

The most exercise these guys get is lifting the bottle of champagne after their latest win.

I know what all you NASCAR fans are thinking though. You think I'm naive. You think I don't understand the complexities of racecar driving and that your "sports heroes" are more talented than my conventional athletes.

I think the exhaust fumes are getting to your head.

Faulty argument number one – NASCAR racers risk their lives in what they do. Indeed. So do firemen, police officers and Russell Crowe's bellboys. That doesn't make what they do a sport. Not only does it slide for that reason, but since when does an increased risk factor into whether or not something's a sport?

Number two – I don't care what anyone says, NASCAR does not require great strategies. All this crap about intimidating your opponents and planning your pit stops is ridiculous. You want to know when these guys are pulling over for gas? I'll tell you – when they run out. Don't tell them I told you, I was supposed to keep it a secret.

Let me remind everyone that creating a point system for something and turning it into a competition does not make it a sport. The Olympics are guilty of this on so many levels – see synchronized swimming and ballroom dancing. When my roommate and I are bored we spit loogies off our balcony and see who can send it the farthest, but so far no one wants to join our league. We think if Tony Stewart can be considered an athlete for what he does, we have to be included for that.

My final reason as to why NASCAR should forever remain in the category of "Hobbies Gone Bad" and not in sports is because how can an event be a sport when its most exciting moments are pit stops? That's like people going to NFL games and waiting for the trainers to run out and tape up a knee. Other than the glorified Jiffy Lube stops NASCAR events are a boring, ridiculous medley of loud noise and billboards on wheels.

Okay, I can see in you NASCAR fans' eyes that you're about ready to hop the stands and leave a few tire marks across my back so I'm going to go ahead and sign off to all my loyal readers.

Don't worry about the NASCAR bunch catching me. I'll just turn right.

Brett Okamoto is a sophomore technical journalism major and sports editor of the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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Sep 272005
Authors: Scott Bondy

While the definition of a sport is loose and arguable, one thing should be certain; NASCAR is a sport, for rednecks or people that like watching left hand turns.

The debate as to what is or is not a sport will go on forever. But when it comes down to it, NASCAR involves physical endurance, strategy and a contest for first place. Those are good enough reasons for me to assume it to be a sport.

Five-hundred laps around a 2.5-mile track is amazing. Average speeds of 135 mph around that track are unreal. Four hours of driving at that speed is ridiculous. But the bottom line is, you don't win $1.5 million playing a game, unless it's in Vegas.

The sport has been given a bad name mostly by the redneck community, who wear their mesh trucker hats (apparently that has become cool at CSU too), spit their chaw and hold their kids' birthday parties at races.

There is so much more to NASCAR. First off, it's a race, and typically races are incorporated into a sport. The exception to this includes drunken bicycle racing home from the bars. Track and cycling are often considered sports since track events take place in the Olympics and the Tour de France is one of the most watched races in the world. Some of you may be thinking that those sports take more physical athleticism, and they do. That doesn't mean NASCAR isn't a sport. Some of you may be thinking that any heavy-set guy can sit behind the car and doesn't have to be in shape to drive. Well heavy set guys play baseball (David Wells, Babe Ruth, Cecil Fielder). I guarantee Jeff Gordon puts forth a lot more physical endurance and effort than Jorge Piedra does in left field for the Rockies.

Next up is the strategy that NASCAR drivers must possess. Much of you know about drafting. It happens on the highways all the time. But at speeds of up to 200 mph, that's pretty skillful. NASCAR is so much more complicated than just making left turns. Just give it a chance and watch a whole race, then decide.

NASCAR races are no walk in the park. Not everyone can get behind the wheel of a car and compete. Most of you can't go 35 mph without rear-ending someone.

Go on the Internet. Find a search engine and type the words, "fantasy NASCAR." That's right, it exists.

Scott Bondy is a senior psychology major. He is associate managing editor of sports and special sections for the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm