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)
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.