It happens every year. The clock ticks down, the calendar flips, and suddenly it’s May 1st.
Then, like a zombie apocalypse, they come crawling out of their holes.
The “Month of May” fans.
Completely accepted and welcomed back to the land of the living, despite being seemingly no different, ironically, than the much spurned upon “event fans” that show up to street races when the IndyCar circus comes to their town.
This 30 day (er, I guess 27 day) mass hysteria makes me a little, no actually, a lot sad.
So much ramped up excitement. So much amped up spending of money. So much focused effort, exhilaration, and disappointment for just one race. Hell even our weekly stalwart radio show, Trackside, turns into a nightly chitchat.
Yes I get it, it’s a historic race (granted now it’s mostly a manufactured-drama filled couple of weeks leading up to a race that has lost some of the mystique of her glory years) And yes, it’s tradition for many drivers, fans and families. But it’s just ONE race on a schedule of many, and the myopic super support of it by both fans and the series is, in my opinion, not doing it or the series any favours! It sort of brings to life the “putting all of your eggs into one basket” theory.
Here’s my analogy:
The Indy 500 is Danica, all the other races on the circuit are the rest of the drivers in the field fighting for a headline or an interview.
We all (except for the fanica’s) remember how frustrating it was until this year to be a fan of anyone other than Danica. Well, as a fan of many of the other races on the schedule, I feel that same sense of frustration mixed with envy. I want MY driver/race to be hyped up and appreciated too!
Those tuning in right now, with no back story, may look at the state of the line up and wonder “what the fuck happened?” “Who is this guy/gal?” “Where is that guy/gal?!” Those listening to the “stories” breaking right now are probably scratching their heads.
Then again, I suspect the real truth of the matter is they’re just not paying attention to any of it actually. It’s more about the tradition and what was then what is.
The glory years. The past great races, finishes and champions.
It’s about the “then” rather than the “now”… until race day, when all the pomp and circumstance will be rolled out exactly has it has been for decade upon decade, and the race will take place in the vacuum of that one day.
And then it will be over.
Then there will be a flurry of sad faces, and “is it May yet?”‘s, and “only 364 days to go” and “well, see you next year” and then they’ll be gone again, dragging their zombie carcasses back into the shadows…
But here’s the thing. If you are just tuning into the season now, coming out of your yearly hibernation for the “Month of May” then disappearing again, then you, again in my humble opinion, have and are missing out.
There is a whole season of real challenges, and interesting storylines, fantastic racing, and dramatic finishes, and feel good podiums, and bitter rivalries, and heartbreak, and triumph. And it all takes place before and after the Month of May. And all of these “other” events, believe it or not, can actually enhance the Indy 500 if you allow yourself to be fan for more than just one month, or one day or one race.