ok, enough with this fluffy bunny crap…

It’s just not my style. And that’s a good thing. I think the more “flavours” that people come in, the better. While I may not suit most people’s tastes, and I accept that, there are some who would gladly order me off the menu every time.
I think there is a place for all of us in the IndyCar community. I don’t tell the cheerleaders and Pollyanna’s to stop talking, or cheering, or supporting the series in their particular way. I think their voices are equally important as mine. Just like them, I love racing, IndyCar in particular.
So why is it so wrong to expect the same respect in return?

So I started to write this last weekend. Then I stopped cause the moment had passed. But I’ve mulled it about a bit more now because I keep seeing more and more fan on fan, and fan on media bashing, and well, this whole “no negativity” movement has a very familiar koolaidish ring about it.

So, here goes… My “2 Alexander Keith’s Cider on a patio on a Sunday afternoon fueled” take.*
(*this excuses all grammatical errors and egregious spelling mistakes)

I remember the days of drivers/owners being fined for speaking up, or against the party line. I also remember the days of pitchfork in hand type attacks on fans who spoke their mind, and for the most part the truth, but out of line with the blinder wearing über positive “the series can do no wrong” gang.

That series? Champ Car

Hell, I was a diehard Champ Car supporter, and yet I was shunned by fellow fans when I went off script and started to see and point out the obvious cracks in the dam wall. I was even threatened with litigation by a team owner after being “turned in” by a fellow fan (and now former friend) following a light-hearted discussion over beers upon my return from a race where I discovered that all was not right in Babylon (turned out to be a false threat as what I had heard was true, and he knew it) (and really , you’re gonna threaten to sue a fucking FAN over a conversation in a bar that you weren’t even present for?!)

All because I saw that things weren’t as rosy as they seemed, and pointed out that there needed to be some major broken things fixed behind the scenes (where I had the privilege and disadvantage of being privy to) I even had the gall to make mention of the whispers of a series merge months before it happened.

Saddest part is I was right (I wish I wasn’t) Best part was I was prepared for when the walls came tumbling down. I wasn’t shocked or in denial crying from behind my rose-colored glasses. I accepted the situation I, and many others, had been expecting, and picked up and transitioned with the teams to the newly merged series.

So here we are years later. In the era of “full transparency” and yet once again there is an underlying surge of “attack the naysayers” rising to the surface.

Here’s the thing. Nothing changes or improves by blind acceptance of the status quo. And blaming the fans or media for yearning for more or better is like blaming the victim in an attack for being in at home when the robbers arrived.

Do you go back to a restaurant that served you a mediocre meal, with bad service? Subsequently do you recommend that restaurant to others? Would you like to be told by other patrons or by the restaurant staff/owners that your undercooked food and lack of refills were your fault? or the fault of another patron who complained or made a suggestion to improve the experience? I think not.

If people are, for lack of a better description, “bitching” about things, then at least they still care. And that’s a GOOD thing. This fear based “don’t say anything negative cause you’ll break it” attitude doesn’t do anything good for anyone. What it does is mute or chase away the people who actually care.

Stop making excuses. Acknowledge the problems and fix them! But don’t blame us for them!

Do you really think sponsors are turning away from the series because the 20 dedicated fans and remote media who set their alarm on a Saturday morning to “watch” a bunch of dots swirl around a track map voice their displeasure on twitter that as per usual, or at the very least more often than not, it wasn’t working? (just one example of a common complaint)
Really???

Maybe they’re not interested because the coverage of the all of the sessions except for mostly tape delayed/highly edited qualifying and the race are WATCHING DOTS SWIRL AROUND A TRACK MAP!! Where is the return on investment there!? (again just one example)

Yes I see fans and journalists calling the series to the mat more often lately. But I also see those same folks sending out the rally cry to support and solicit sponsors, and buying/promoting specific products and services specifically because they are on a side pod.

They are also the ones who spend their weekends jumping thru hoops to find coverage via links and secret streams to support and cover the events they can’t attend personally.

They’re the ones buying tickets and swag and paying thru the nose for airfare and gas to keep the series in business for your entertainment

So go ahead sycophants and Pollyanna’s; blame the us for caring. Hell, while you’re at it, blame us for wanting more and better. But please don’t blame the us for the series’ shortcomings. They’re taking care of that all on their own.

16 responses to “ok, enough with this fluffy bunny crap…

  1. the american mutt

    I really dont see the point in complaining about timing and scoring. Who gives a shit? Bitch about lack of MIS, cleveland, Richmond, and anywhere in the pacific north west. Bitch about isc doing a shit job of promoting events at their tracks.

    • Like I said, that was just one example, and seemed to be the thing that the cheerleaders were the most sensitive about during the last race. I agree, there are much bigger fish to fry at this point, (all of your points are valid) but when you can’t consistently get the little things sorted on a regular basis… well, it just becomes the most glaring sticking point.

  2. its_meatball

    #NailedIt

  3. Thanks Meesh. I’ve just stopped commenting. Racing, politics, most of the stuff I love. When so many think the status quo is the best we can hope for I just hang my head.

    • And that is sad. I say it all the time. Complacency is like a cancer. It’s when your fans & detractors fall silent that you should really worry.

  4. I remember both sides of the split having their staunch fans who could never think of their ‘branch’ doing any wrong, no matter what they did.
    I also remember people who were fans but were able to hold reasonable debate and question the decisions taken by the series. Criticism is good and healthy for any series if done reasonably and fairly.

    Remember usenet? I hung out on rec.autos.sport.cart for a while circa 2000-2002 or 2003 and there was some good discussion there.. and there were a few horrible flame wars too (heh, I never dared stay long at rec.autos.sport.indy). I wonder what happened to some of those people.

    I think both Champ Car and the IRL made fatal errors in listening only to the cheerleaders and ignoring the reasonable people who raised legitimate concerns. And yes I really do mean both sides of that fence. There’s a reason both were so keen to merge – they were about to die. Please, INDYCAR, let’s not make the same mistake again. Actually.. I think on several issues they are doing quite well, with regard to on-track rules and conduct. Now they need to do the same off-track.

    Personally I have little problem with T&S itself. The track map is a useful innovation, but please could it be made to not act like a video and be a live data representation. The problem is that for qualifying we really do need live video, either on TV or online! (I can’t say I’m too fussed over practice.. except at Indy).

    • Hey, I was as guilty as the next guy re: blind cheerleading, but then I started to think outside the box. I became self aware from the collective. (think of me as “Hugh” Borg from ST:TNG)(total nerd moment there)
      I started to actually listen to the reasonable voices from our side and the other side, voicing the same concerns for their series.

      I do remember usenet… oh man. you needed kevlar in there! LOL!

      I too think there are a lot of things RIGHT with the series right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, or that those who aren’t happy with the state of things, in whatever area, shouldn’t have the right to voice their displeasure or concerns.

      As far as T&S goes, I really couldn’t care less about how crappy it was year before last, when we had video and sometimes commentary for the sessions via the website. You could follow along for yourself and surmise what was happening. Now we rely solely on T&S. It’s hit or miss whether we will get commentary. It’s inconsistent and it’s frustrating. And while the diehard fans accept and put up with it (while kvetching about it) The casual fan, perhaps one who’s main interest is another series, will get bored and move on. You can’t “tell” people how great you are. They need to discover it for themselves and tell YOU how great you are, by coming back, by watching, and by attending races.

      If I’m a regular Nascar or F1 viewer and I decide to give IndyCar a chance one weekend, I’m disappointed. Period. I’ve gone from fully televised practice, qualifying, pre & post race, with consistently working (there’s that word again) T&S on a well functioning, informative website, to very little multi platform coverage, and very little build up or immediate follow up.

      It’s not petulance. It’s perception. Period.

      • Oh it’s as important to cheerlead at the right time as it is to criticise. IndyCar needs a lot of cheerleading sometimes… people who should know better are missing some great racing.

        I no longer pay attention to IndyCar qualifying for all the reasons you state. I just have better things to do than to watch a timing screen. Give me pictures of cars – T&S works well as an aide, not a be all and end all.

        Struggling to see why this is viewed as petulance in some quarters. It’s just obvious… isn’t it?

  5. PS – I approve of your choice of beverage, I have a cider myself right now.

  6. Meesh on the mark yet again! The dissenting opinion is an important factor in moving anything forward. You shouldn’t bitch for bitching’s sake but constructive complaints should always be welcome; I’d rather find out if something wrong can be fixed, than just have sunshine blown up my ass all the time.

    • exactly. At one of my other jobs, we are constantly seeking out feedback, good and bad, from customers no longer using our service, so we can fix what’s broken, and perhaps give that customer and future customers what they really want.

      Watching a facet of your business deplete, and merely saying ‘oh well, we’re better off without them” or worse, just pretending not to notice, and continuing to do the same thing, or provide the same service and hope the next group sticks around. Well, that’s just asinine.

  7. I guess I’m on the side of the Pollyanna’s. Although I recognize the many problems of Indycar, it just seems like a lot of people jump on every bit of negative news so they can use it as another nail in the Indycar coffin. A lot of folks aren’t “constructively criticizing” the series, but trying to bury it. So I think it needs some cheerleaders to point out what it is doing right.

    The transition to the new chassis and engines, while not without problems, has been–mainly–successful. And the races have been good and well-attended. The Road To Indy is growing. And Bernard has done all this under previously unheard of budget constraints.

    It’s not really a matter of being negative or positive all the time. It’s recognizing what does work along with what needs improvement. But I do enjoy reading you because your passion for the sport sorta jumps off the page.

    • Thanks friend ;-) I love having you pop out of the shadows to comment every once in a while!

      and you’re 100% correct in all of the above. And contrary to popular belief, I tend to be more Pollyanna than Contrarian most of the time.

      Bitching for the sake of bitching gets nothing accomplished, and actually mutes your message after a while.
      It’s like the boy who cried wolf. When you have something really important to say, no one is listening anymore.

      I like to think I use my soapbox judiciously, and with equal parts positive and negative when it’s all added up at the end of the day. And in either case, it’s earned, not merely offered. ;-)

  8. It takes all kinds, eh?

    My longtime newspaper editor friend has always said if he has people on both sides pissed off, they were right about where they should be. In my opinion, a ‘true’ journalistic viewpoint is one that presents the best available information for the good of all involved and doesn’t use bias or sensationalism to go about merely ‘selling papers’. It is my opinion that is also the viewpoint which can be the most helpful if those decision-makers care to listen.

    In this day and age, that viewpoint also sometimes comes in the form of no-nonsense individuals who are capable of doing this via blogging.

    Thanks for your thoughts today Meesh and please keep on keepin’-on!

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