The Legions Of The Miserable

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After watching the great oval race at Kentucky on Saturday night, I spent Sunday afternoon at the training camp of the Tennessee Titans. I was amazed at the comments from all of the armchair quarterbacks standing around me. No matter how crisp the offense looked – and they looked good on Sunday – there were those around me that had to find something to complain about on every play. It sort of reminded me of some of the comments I read Sunday morning about the race at Kentucky. No matter how great and exciting it was, there was no shortage of those that had to tell us how sorry it was and how stupid anyone was that actually said they liked it.

There is a term I use for these types, although it is not original to me. I call them the legions of the miserable. These are those that cannot be happy unless they are complaining. You know the type. The world of sports is full of them and IndyCar racing is no exception. While at Titans practice, there was no end to those that criticized coach Jeff Fisher (the Titans had the best record in the NFL last year), the owner, the General Manager and just about every player on the field.

The same rhetoric was oozing through the internet Sunday morning. It was as if the worst thing that could happen to these people was for there to be an exciting race in the IndyCar Series. They came out of the woodwork to make sure they corrected any myth that was propagating out there about that being a good race on Saturday night. The legions had been out there all along, but they were silent as the more rational voices were complaining about the bad racing all summer. But now that an exciting race took place – with nobody hitting the wall to boot – well, they just had to come out and spill their vile.

Probably the worst thing about the legions of the miserable is the pseudo-intellectual tone they utilize in telling us how inferior the racing in the IndyCar Series is. They use highbrow vocabularies with words that don’t even apply in the way they are using them, but it makes them sound so superior.

I am fortunate that this site doesn’t draw that many of the legions. Perhaps they don’t know about it or hopefully don’t care about it. There have been a couple of them to stop by and leave random inflammatory comments, but I’ve expected that. They say their piece and move on, doing no damage. I appreciate opposing viewpoints and enjoy a healthy debate. It’s the best way to hear all sides. Occasionally (but not often), my point of view can be swayed.

There is really only one reader that seems to read this site every day, yet always have to comment on what a lame article I just wrote. If it’s really that bad, why waste your time reading it? I consider life too precious to purposely engage in things I don’t like. I prefer to spend what time I have left on this earth embracing things that I enjoy. I certainly don’t take it personally, but I have to wonder what joy this person really gets out of life. Overall however, the readers of this site give very intelligent and insightful comments.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the readers of The Indianapolis Star. I like to read the comment sections after Curt Cavin’s articles just to get a read on what other fans are thinking. I have to ration myself and proceed with caution, because the legions of the miserable are constantly out in full force over there.

To read the comments at The Star, you would think that no driver ever drove a good race, no reporter ever wrote a good article, no racing body ever knew what in the world they were doing and that the whole racing world was on the certain verge of collapse. I can’t even tell what these people are for, but there is no question who they are against – anything that is written about.

I really enjoy listening to the weekly show that Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee host on 1070 The Fan. All of the callers that call in seem educated, respectful and above all else…rational. Why do these people not post comments on-line? It would certainly help balance the atmosphere.

Now, am I saying that we should all be singing happy praises about anything that the IRL does? Absolutely not. On the contrary, in the three months I have been writing on this site, I have taken the league to task about multiple subjects including the league’s leadership void, the ESPN television coverage, the restrictive rules package and just yesterday, the 2010 schedule. But I try to use reason, facts and logic and try to keep my emotions in check. I also don’t take an opposing viewpoint as a personal attack on my manhood as some of the readers of The Star seem to do. Most importantly, along with every article that criticizes a move by the IRL, I have probably written another one praising something they have done. The legions won’t do that.

Usually I have a very unscientific poll question at the end of each article. Most of the readers seem to like it and it gives a good indication what fans think on different issues. Sometimes I will include a choice that is so absurd; I cannot imagine anyone actually thinking that way. Yet, when I check it each night – I can always count on at least one member of the legion to check the bizarre response.

On Sunday morning, practically every blog written out there was extremely complimentary on Saturday night’s race. Yet so many of them were followed by comments filled with venom about the race. I had to wonder if they were even talking about the same race. What really amazed me was that according to the comments, they had watched the whole thing. Once again – why would anyone subject themselves to an evening watching something that they hated? Is it that fun to think you’re showing everyone how intellectually superior you are because you find this type of racing so repugnant. I’ve got news for the legions, they’re not superior – they are the stupid ones for wasting two hours of a Saturday night watching something they hate. I really don’t like NBA basketball, but I’m not going to torture myself by watching an entire game just to go to an NBA website and tell all the fans how dumb they are.

Will this rant of mine do any good? No. The legions of the miserable are out there in every facet of life. They follow and ridicule all the sports and sports figures that we follow. They are those wretched people at work that offer no solutions to any problem but always quickly point out what the problem is. They’ll never go away, nor will they ever have the initiative to start a site like this to host their viewpoints. They would rather just infest other websites with their clutter. But what we can do is ignore them and not recognize them. That’s probably what I should have done and not written an entire article on the legions of the miserable.

George Phillips

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15 Responses to “The Legions Of The Miserable”

  1. bickelmom Says:

    So true, George, so true! As an Indy resident I can tell you that the legions don’t restrict themselves to Curt’s articles. They infest every bit of the Indy Star. I’ve actually stopped reading comments on that site because it is so unbalanced and just full of the negative trash (I was going to use a big word there, but who am I trying to impress?).

  2. This phenomenon is not unique to the Indy Star. The comment sections on my hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, are as awful and inflammatory as any site on the internet. It doesn’t matter what the topic of the article is, the trolls always rant and rave.

    George, until Oilpressure is overrun with complaints about how Bush / Obama is killing all that is good and holy in the world, we shouldn’t complain. It could be a lot worse than the random miserable Open Wheel racing grouch.

    Keep up the good work. Let the legions be damned to the misery. If you ignore them they go away.

    As a wise person once said “Don’t wrestle with a pig. because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it”

  3. Travis R Says:

    Well said, George! I used to comment on quite a few different websites and forums. For the most part, I’ve given up due to the overwhelming negativity. I don’t know if it’s because of the anonymous nature of the Internet or what, but it’s way too easy to hate. I believe in supporting and talking about the things I like. If I don’t like something, I go with the old adage, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I don’t understand why that’s so difficult.

  4. The American Mutt Says:

    First, I sympathize with the armchair quarterbacks. Vince Young turned out to be a turd for you guys, and every time he gets injured the team does better, from a fan point of view that’s got to be hard. (as a Colts fan I’m amused to no end by it) Second, you forgot the poll response “Do you hate the legion of miserable, but like their addition to ratings despite their stated hatred.” Eff em. If they don’t like it, they should do what I do with Nascar, keep tabs on it. Like it or not it is technically a motor sport, and I try to keep tabs on most motor sports to some extent.

    A specific question. Now that Toronto has been run, and was mostly an exciting race, how do you feel specifically about it’s replacement considering you’re in Tennessee? I went last year, and hated the race.

    • oilpressure Says:

      You’re right on Vince Young. I hope he stays where he is..on the sidelines. Kerry Collins will do just fine, thank you. Regarding Toronto vs Nashville — I don’t consider Toronto replacing nashville per se. they just have our date. No argument on the racing at Nashville. That track is ridiculous. But they needed a race in the southeast. Now we’ve got it at Barber. I hope the racing is better than the so-called “experts” claim it will be.

  5. I agree with your points, George. Also annoying (although not nearly as much as the legion) is the sunshine squad that insists everything is Super Fabulous all the time when it clearly isn’t. The only way to improve is to honestly assess what you are doing, good and bad, and go from there. It’s OK to criticize, as long as your just as quick to praise.

  6. Thank you for posting your in-sites everyday. I enjoy coming by and reading them. I would have also voted for “Do you hate the legion of miserable, but like their addition to ratings despite their stated hatred.” If they want to continue making a sport I enjoy watching more popular that is fine by me.

  7. Fantastic post, George. There’s so much I could say, but I think you put most of it fairly well. Unfortunately, it’s not just down to comments sections and sites like CrapWagon (the single STUPIDEST website on the internet, and I will physically fight anyone who disagrees), but it has also seeped into “real” media. Apart from Johnny O, motorsports writers on ESPN seem more than happy to shoot down the IRL or IMS at any opportunity. Robin Miller is always desperately close to teetering into “The Legion”, but I find him to be more honest than ignorant; if something bad happens, he overreacts, wheras if something good happens, he’ll tell you it was good.

  8. I try to read this blog every day, but I admit sometimes I don’t. With that said, you cannot be more right about this. I work with several people like that. Some people cannot be happy unless they are complaining. It really pisses me off. Why complain about things that me, you and the rest of us average joes have no control over. Do people really think that the powers that be want to drive the IRL out of business? Just shut up and let the rest of enjoy what racing we have.

  9. Amen, and big ups to you on this post, George. I stopped going on ANY motorsports message board or forum around about 1997, because I couldn’t handle all of the negative crap. It’s racing. It’s supposed to be fun, something enjoyable to do with your time. I get that it’s probably not as good as it was (or as people think it was, depending on your point of view), but good lord. Who has time for all of that venom and negativity? Just try to derive some enjoyment out of it. And if you can’t do that, there are 5,000,000 other things you can do with your time, as TV ratings – ALL TV ratings, not just IndyCar’s – reinforce every day.

    Great work as always. Hang in there. :)

  10. I enjoy watching Indycar and reading it on the blogs about it as a way of escape, a way to have a little fun and learn a little bit.

    The folks who dwell too much on the negative are just unhappy and looking for a bit of attention. It’s fairly easy to ignore them.

  11. sorry. should have read “reading about it on the blogs as…”

  12. George, as a former sportswriter and editor I feel qualified to say that your articles are some of the best writing to be found anywhere today.
    They are technically well written and they are well thought out. More often than not, I agree with you. But, whether or not I agree, does not sway my opinions about the quality of your work.
    As for the comments after Curt Cavin’s articles, or any others, I no longer waste my time reading them. I am amazed that so many ignorant, illiterate people are so determined to demonstrate both to the world.

  13. jerrycruz Says:

    Amen to that George. It has been annoying reading (or trying for that matter) comments on different blogs (try IBJ’s and you’ll understand. IndyCar racing really needs to keep making the product better and being critical on their product. As the P-dog writes is not always sunshine and you need to address those issues when they arise (this happens in everyday life – everywhere). Keep the good work and I don’t miss a day that I don’t read your blog. It is important in my happy time. Great race at Kentucky!

  14. James O. Says:

    I’m late to the party but I’ve been gnawing at this bone the last two days, so I may as well have something to show for it.

    1. Anger is a better motivator to action than satisfaction. If you say something I agree with, I nod and smile and I move on. If you say something I disagree with, I’m more likely to want to retort.

    2. Sports in particular tends be something people are passionate about, and things that might normally be shrugged off become painfully controversial, which makes people more likely to want to write. With the IRL it’s more of a crucible since it’s fairly small and (obviously) some people are starting to seriously worry not just about the direction of the sport, but whether it’ll even survive at all. That bumps the stakes up, and increases a feeling of I Must Take Action–I’ll vent my frustrations in Robin Miller’s Mailbag!!!

    3. I agree and don’t like the way a lot of people express themselves: you can get the point across without being nasty or sour (or in internet speak, Snarky). But people often are. I don’t think this is a new thing. I’m an amateur historian for another interest that I have, and I find myself poring through old magazines looking for information. Some of the letters to the editor that get printed are as nasty (but w/o profanity) as anything I see today. The difference is you get maybe one letter like that every few months, because the editor picks and chooses. On unmoderated or loosely edited websites, you get a raw sample.

    4. Some people are just cynical and sour on life in general, and yes–I wonder if it’s really that bad, why not find something else? Several years ago I walked away (as a fan) from major league baseball in general and my favorite team in particular becuase I was disgusted and wasn’t going to deal with it anymore. There’s more to life than being angry at something you have no influence over anyway.

    5. But I also think a lot of complainers are just trying to be Laocoon, and you’re trying to open people’s eyes to what you think is a bad situation. You don’t *want* people to look at KY and say, “well, problems solved. Let’s go back to sleep,” — not if you think the IRL’s problems are more systemic. And certainly not if you think it’ll eventually kill the IRL altogether, or put it in a position where it’s about as widespread and popular as Everglades fan-boat racing.

    I’m not defending a lot of it. I generally don’t read comment threads either, and I think a lot of people ought to STFU and GBTW. But I do think it explains why it’s there…

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