A Sad Day In The IndyCar Blogosphere
There was a gaping hole that was blown into the IndyCar blogosphere yesterday, when Roy Hobbson announced that he was hanging up his keyboard and ending his stellar career at The Silent Pagoda. This will not be a weak attempt at witty sarcasm, nor will it be a sappy monologue to try and evoke tears from stunned Pagodites. Instead, I would just like to acknowledge the literary talents of a guy I had never heard of two years ago, but who eventually became a good friend.
Before I started this site, I had rarely been to any blog sites – not just IndyCar blog sites, but any blog sites. When I started, I had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve often said that there were three established IndyCar bloggers that went out of their way to help me in those first few weeks; Jeff Iannucci of My Name Is IRL, Bill Zahren of Pressdog.com and Roy Hobbson. I was aware of the first two, but I had never heard of Hobbson.
Hobbson first showed up in the comments section of my site within two weeks of my very first post, when I wrote a post listing Indy’s Ten Worst Drivers over the past twenty years. He was intrigued about Dr. Jack Miller – the Racing Dentist (who I listed at No. 2). I clicked on the site he listed and it took me to one of the funniest post I had ever read to that point. I left a comment there and a friendship was begun.
For months we swapped e-mails back and forth. Then he challenged me to a bet last December. The winner of the Colts-Titans game got to take over the loser’s site for a day. Although I lost the bet, Hobbson worked his tail off writing one bizarre post after another. Almost a year later, that day still ranks as highest amount of traffic this site has ever had. Many of the Pagodites that had never heard of this site before that day, became regular readers after that.
Prior to the bet, Hobbson and I started talking over the phone. What was apparent in print became more apparent over the phone; he and I had absolutely nothing in common. I’m in my early fifties; he’s in his early thirties. He was a college basketball player, while I was a career college student. We sit at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Roy is from the Midwest, while I’m decidedly southern. I like the history of the Speedway. He likes the history of the Snake Pit. He’s married. I’m divorced. But the funny thing was, we got along great. Over the past year, we’ve had marathon phone conversations that barely even discussed racing. We’ve bounced different things off of each other and taken advantage of the other’s widely differing perspective on certain subjects. Simply put – we’ve become good friends.
All the while, we made fun of each other on our respective sites and on Twitter. Surprisingly, even though he is the one with the “snarky” reputation, I was the one that fired more volleys. I think everyone knew it was all in good fun.
I finally got to meet Roy this past May at Indianapolis. It was and wasn’t what I was expecting – all at the same time. What I was expecting, I got – a nice guy with a quirky sense of humor that went out of his way to introduce me to everyone in the media center at IMS. What I wasn’t expecting – was someone who was, quite possibly, the most hyper-active person I’ve ever been around. In our phone conversations, Roy came across as somewhat laid-back and easy-going, which sort of belayed the image he portrayed on his site. In person, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone bouncing off the walls as much as Roy.
Although he was sitting in a chair in the media center, he was going 90 mph. His right leg kept pumping up and down with the nervous energy of a hummingbird. He religiously checked his Blackberry no less than once every five seconds as he kept fidgeting and looking around. I offered him a beer just to try to calm him down. It didn’t work. I saw him throughout that qualifying weekend and came to know that this was the true Roy. It should not have surprised me, because this is what comes out in his writing.
And it’s that writing where Roy’s true talents lie. I’ll let you in on a secret. I know what Hobbson does for a living. I won’t divulge what that is, but his talents are misplaced. My day job is involved in identifying professional talents and trying to steer careers in the right direction. It is my opinion that Roy Hobbson should pursue a full-time career in writing. He’s that good.
His humor is off-beat and quirky, but it is the unique phrasing he chooses that typifies his writing. He expresses things much more clearly than most well-known (and well-paid) professional writers. I’ve also read Hobbson when he wasn’t trying to be funny. His post at Versus.com; about an afternoon with his son for a practice day at the Speedway, literally brought tears to my girlfriend’s eyes. There was no biting sarcasm or comments about hurling projectiles. It was simply a poignant look at the side of Hobbson we rarely see – Hobbson, the father. This was as eloquent, as his Pagoda posts are hysterical.
But Roy Hobbson has his reasons, and he has decided to pack it in for now. I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him now and then, but it won’t be the same. Anytime I had a spare moment, I always checked The Pagoda just to see if there was anything new – either a new post or something funny from the Pagodites. But now that ritual has been ripped from my day and I’ll miss that. There are still some witty bloggers out there that I’ll keep reading, but we will certainly miss Hobbson. Within six months, the IndyCar blogosphere has seen the “retirement” of two iconic giants – Jeff Iannucci and now Roy Hobbson. They have left two gaping holes that I’m afraid will never be filled.
So, I’ll close by not offering anything sappy or sarcastic. I’ll just simply say; Thanks. Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Hobbson.