do you ever feel…

like one of these?

Welcome to the world of open wheel fandom. Seriously.
This year is barely two months old, and I’m fucking exhausted.
Like our friend bozo up there, I have taken multiple punches, but have rolled with them all. Sure I have vacillated back and forth with each announcement and rumour as to whether I could, would, should continue to support this sport.

As a fan, as a human, my line in the sand has been and continues to be ever fluctuating.
“I’ll continue to support as long as… <insert condition here>
Yes, I said condition.
My “unconditional” fandom ended a while back, when I discovered it was becoming a requirement to even be considered a “true” fan.
Sorry, but I will always hold people accountable for the things I find unacceptable. (and anyone who truly wishes to be successful should and does welcome constructive criticism and suggestions from their peers and customers…)

So today, another punch, another rally, another gut check, another line in the sand.

So little of what I actually love about this is moving forward. Somehow though it was palatable with FCR making the jump. They have always been my team. They were my assigned story. Their pitbox was my hangout on race weekend. My enthusiasm for the sport, directly tied to my involvement with them.

Now there is a shitty car, and shitty engine, and a bunch of shitty venues. My home race is gone, my team is gone, and now the ONE guy that I have and DO support unconditionally (though he has made me angry over the years) is standing on the sidelines. The guy that has put up with all the bullshit, that resisted the money and pressure to bail, that spoke up for and out on behalf of the series, suddenly, thanklessly, rideless.

I am absolutely gutted for him. If he were in his early 20’s, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Many opportunities out there for a young hot shoe with proven talent. But at 39, he doesn’t have a lot of open wheel years ahead of him. FCR and his 5yr contract was his retirement plan. It was his graceful swan song. It was his handing over the torch to the younger generation then moving on to something else.

This whole situation is such a piss off. I’m torn again between wishing nothing had changed and knowing absolutely with all my heart that unification had to happen. Face it, neither series was going to make it past 2008, and AOW was likely going to be reduced to a once a year event in Indy. Hell, it could still turn out that way for all we know. Thus far, excitement for it aside, this unification isn’t exactly getting off on the right foot. (the FCR bailing thing is just one of a half dozen ugly situations going on behind the scenes)

I’m angry that so much potential was squandered so thoughtlessly over the last 5 yrs. Did anybody really ever look at the big picture? Was ANYONE in this for the good of open wheel? Or was it really just about fattening up everyone’s wallets and egos.

Once again, as has happened many times over the last two months, I am standing on the precipice. However… I am running out of sand to draw the line in. Once again I face the will I or won’t I decision. At some point (perhaps very soon) I will have nothing left that I actually care about to champion. I really really do want American Open Wheel to not just survive, but thrive! Unfortunately, I now don’t know how much my involvement will be in it as we move ahead. Everybody has a different stress point, the breaking point where that tiny piece of straw fractures your desire, your hope, your joy, your dream.

That piece of straw is getting mighty heavy…

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4 responses to “do you ever feel…

  1. I feel bad for you, meesh. When I first got started in the journo biz years ago, I got friendly with a couple of teams. When they went out of business, it was like someone punched me in the nuts.

    But after a while my love for the sport in general helped me to move past it. I hope you do too. The Thrill from West Hill will likely be one of the most sought-after drivers in the new IndyCar Series.

    And Forsythe can go piss on his feet for all I care – finally, we get a sense of just how far he’s willing to take his fit of pique against Tony George. Kinda puts his whole post-Split history into a little different – and more petty – light, doesn’t it?

  2. Not that I am defending GF, but you all do realize he is related to TG by marriage. And he hates TG from what I hear. Never attends any of the Hulman family functions. GF knows TG a lot more personally than many other folks in racing, and if he hates him that much, there’s got to be something behind it all. Something we don’t see.

  3. My love of the sport was born out of a family history (Dad was a dragster jockey!) but nurtured as an adult via my yearly race (the city became electric) and my joy in watching Patreek and Paul. I had a dream of doing Team/Driver PR, but an old dog like me doesn’t get those opportunities. I fell into the journo stuff as a happy accident.
    I’m sure I will weather this storm. I have the opportunity to branch out with my writing this year, covering other genres and CDN drivers. (maybe even get paid! imagine that!) Maybe that will be enough of a distraction to clear the cobwebs and the bitter taste in my mouth.

    The irony is that I got so much more joy out of watching Star Mazda last year, than any other open wheel series. Something about being around all those young hopeful hot shoes and watching them race balls out every weekend.

    Yes, it does put the post-split into a different light. It feels like history is repeating itself in a vicious circle only the names are different.

  4. Rus’L, you may be right. Then again, who here doesn’t have in-laws they can’t stand?

    At any rate, as I posted in the other talkback, GF apparently didn’t like the idea of ONLY getting the same deal as everyone else who moves from Champ Car… he was looking for some additional handouts. TG offered to help find him sponsors, but apparently that wasn’t enough for GF.

    Thank god his Atlantics drivers can write him paychecks or he’d be gone from there too.

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