The Best Fans In Sports
When I started this site, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the things I wanted to say and write about, but I had no idea who on earth would read my drivel or what their reaction would be. One of my friends that helped convince me to do it had blogged on other subjects. He warned me of the trolls that lurk about just trying to find some mistake you’ve made so they can rip your head off.
I’ve always maintained that, for the most part, IndyCar fans are a very pleasant bunch. I’ve especially found that to be true among those that read the IndyCar blogs. They are some of the friendliest, most open people I’ve come across. That goes for whatever age, income bracket or any other demographic you want to bring up. Perhaps it’s because we recognize that this was such a niche sport when we started that we figured we were all in this together.
I’ve spoken to bloggers that cover other sports like the NFL, the NBA or college sports. They will tell you that the field they blog in is cutthroat and all the bloggers hate each other and their readers can be relentless. Maybe that’s why my friend warned me about potentially getting my head ripped off.
Two and a half years later, I can honestly say that I’ve encountered very little of that. Instead, I’ve made acquaintances of race fans all over this country and in other parts of the world. I was careful to use the word acquaintance, because I feel a little uncomfortable calling someone a friend if the chances are good that you’ll never ever meet them. The word “friend” is not a word that I use lightly and reserve it for those few that have experienced you at your highest and lowest, yet would still do anything for you unconditionally and you would likewise.
Still, when I use the term acquaintance – that’s pretty high in my book. I’m proud to say I’ve met a lot of good acquaintances throughout the blogosphere. Rather than starting to name a bunch of them and then run the risk of inadvertently leaving someone out, I’m going to focus on just one. For privacy sake, I’ll just call them Donald & Laurie from Montana.
I’ve never met these good folks, nor have we ever spoken by phone. Chances are, we never will. But last spring during my favorite time of year, the month of May, I got an e-mail from Donald. He noted that he knew I was a huge Roger Penske fan and he had found something stashed away in a drawer that he wanted to send me. I figured it was an old Penske hat or a faded picture of Danny Sullivan, but still I appreciated the thought.
Well, when it came – what a surprise! It was an issue of the old IndyCar Racing Magazine that went away about ten years ago. Old-timers like me will remember that it was the homespun magazine produced by New Wicker out of Milwaukee. But this wasn’t just any issue of ICR Magazine; this was a near-mint condition copy of the October 1983 edition – the premier issue!
Who does this? IndyCar fans, that’s who. Had I been a blogger that followed Tennessee Volunteer football, do you think a Vols fan would have offered up a collectable such as this? Hardly.
I’ll have to throw a shout-out to my fellow IndyCar bloggers also. When I started blogging, I figured that other IndyCar bloggers considered each other to be competitors. I quickly found out how wrong I was. I found the whole bunch to be extremely helpful and many went out of their way to help me get started. People like Bill Zahren (Pressdog), Jeff Iannucci (My Name Is IRL & One Lap Down) and the infamous Roy Hobbson all offered unsolicited help – and I had never met any of them. Perhaps it’s because we all realize that this is such a niche sport that we’re all in this together. People refer to it as the IndyCar blogging community, and it really is.
Hearing what bloggers in other sports have to say about their fans and readers have made me glad I have chosen the IZOD IndyCar Series to write about. Other sports may be able to claim more fans, but I’m willing to say that no other sport can boast that their fan base is more devoted, more fervent or more loyal than IndyCar racing.
Although we are now closing in on October and Donald sent me my gift in May, I hope it’s not considered too late to offer up a public Thank You. I enjoy writing these posts and it’s been enjoyable watching this thing continue to grow. I haven’t hit the burn-out stage, not yet anyway – so I plan to continue to do this a little longer. Besides, it’s easy to stay motivated when you get to interact with people like Donald & Laurie from Montana.