Definition of sport

Auto racing is a grueling activity demanding tremendous skill, and it is dynamic to watch.

In his Dec. 13 opinion, “NASCAR is not a sport,” Mike Durkin used a dictionary for his definition of “sport.” I use life experience for mine.

You see, before I would even begin to write about something as sensitive as a man’s – or woman’s – favorite sport, I would want to know what I was talking about. I race myself and am a fan; I love the sport so much I chose to write about it so that other fans might be better informed.

Therefore, I think I might have a definition that might include auto racing as a sport, “If it can’t kill you, it really isn’t a sport.” Now all you ball players, don’t get upset.

Down here in Oklahoma we tend to take things to its most base level. To us “ball” is a pastime, as is ice skating and ring toss, but when you offer your life to compete, friends, that’s sport.

Durkin made the analogy that racing was just like driving on the freeway. I will bet that at 160 mph heading into a 90 degree corner you wouldn’t even consider dialing a cell phone. How about two cars at 180 mph trying to occupy the same space?

That takes as much skill as throwing a ball – or hitting one for that matter – and certainly as much skill as outsmarting the fellow on the opposite side trying to take that ball or puck away from you.

As far as athletics, let’s see: four 15-minute periods with breaks in between versus 400 miles to 500 miles nonstop.

Hmm.

A professor at your school (“Defining athleticism,” letter to the editor, Dec. 14) mentioned that as a team sport, stock car teams are very physically fit.

I would like to tell Durkin that many years ago it became obvious that if you wanted to be competitive on a professional level, the entire team needed trainers.They all have them now. Like fighters, football players and hockey teams, a successful racing team today goes to the gym, has warm-ups every day and has team practice – polishing their skills that already seem flawless.

Before Durkin went as far out on a limb as he did, I would like to suggest that he go to a school for high speed driving or take one of the NASCAR Experiences that are now offered at almost all tracks.

Then consider that the car you are driving in that school has been detuned so that you will have a better chance of survival.

Then keep in mind my definition of sport, “If it can’t kill you, it’s not a sport.” Then let’s hear from you about how NASCAR isn’t a sport.

 As far as the sponsors go, would you put your advertising dollar on the side of a car that at one race (say Martinsville) on just one afternoon (out of a week of build-up in front of fans) is seen in front of 120,000 screaming fans as well as a national TV audience?

Or would you rather sponsor a team that at maximum capacity is only in front of 40,000 with TV coverage on rare occasions?

Another hmm.

I have several good recipes for crow if Durkin would like them; on this one I feel he might need it.

To everyone out there that believes everything you read, auto racing is truly one of our greatest sports, don’t let a misguided opinion change your viewing habits.

Doc Hogan is a writer for Fastlane Motorsports News, an independent auto-racing newspaper. Please send comments to [email protected]