An Offseason With An IndyCar Blogger
Greetings from a Chattanooga hotel room where I’ve been most of this week for work. Thank God that we are less than two months away from the start of the IndyCar season. I am married to the man who usually writes here. I’ve seen him go through a lot of off-seasons both as a blogger and as a fan. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him as restless for the season to get going as he is for this one.
It’s not that he’s waiting around like a little kid for the racing to get going as much as he is to not have to struggle for topics to write about. He sometimes has trouble in the offseason coming up with new ideas to write about, but I’ve never seen him struggle like he has this offseason.
In the past, the slow offseason would make him run dry on ideas about once a month. This offseason has been different. Practically every other day this offseason, he starts worrying me to death to come up with a topic for him to write about.
I hate to tell him, but I don’t read his columns much at all during the offseason. I’m not the die-hard fan that he is or most of you are. I keep up with the season, but when it shuts down, so do I. My job keeps me very busy with travel and what not. I rarely have time to do anything for myself during the week. I’m sure not going to spend what few moments I have for myself to read about a dormant sport, not even if it’s my husband writing it. I’ll wait until March to pick it back up again.
George enjoys this site. Let me rephrase that. He loves it. He really does. But I also know he agonizes over it, more than he’ll ever admit. He spends a lot more time agonizing over a topic than he does actually writing it. Some people probably think it’s silly that he would worry so much over something that he gets no money for doing. Those that question that, obvuiously don’t know him. It’s a combination of part extreme pride in his work and part neurosis. I’ve always been amazed how quickly he cranks out an article. If it isn’t a Monday morning immediately following a race, he usually spends about an hour writing it. He does no outline or anything to prepare. Once he gets a topic in his head, he just sits at the keyboard and starts pounding away. And I literally mean pounding! Never have I heard anyone strike the keys as hard as he does. And if he’s mad about something, you’ll think he’s going to break the keyboard.
Race wrap-ups take longer. He jots down a few notes during the race. He’ll generally go to his computer around 7:00 on a Sunday night and won’t come out until almost 10:00. That works for me because I can generally watch what I want to watch for Sunday night TV during the season.
I enjoy helping him and occasionally giving readers not only the female perspective, but the view from a more casual fan that didn’t grow up with the sport like he did or many of you. I especially enjoy being his unofficial photographer at races and writing about my experiences at them too.
But it’s this time of year when there is so little news that he always struggles, but never like he has this offseason. I wish he would agonize more over what to get me for Christmas or Valentine’s as much as he does on what to write. He worries me for ideas. I know he hopes an idea will come to him listening to Trackside each week. He calls friends and relatives occasionally when he’s running dry. Until he gets a topic in his head for the next article, he can be tough to live with. He doesn’t get cranky or surly, he just gets focused strictly on what to write about and he’ll irritate the crap out of me until the light bulb goes off in his head. Then a couple of days later, it all starts over again.
When big news breaks or he gets an idea a few days in advance, it is a huge blessing in our house. His anxiety level is down and things are calm for a few days. We don’t have this problem during the season. He’s either writing about the race that just happened, the race coming up or the latest controversy. Life is more pleasant when he has things to write about.
I know the day will come when he gives this site up. He talks about it every offseason and swears that each season will be his last. He came real close to throwing in the towel this past fall when some jerk took cheap shots at him from their own blog for no apparent reason. He tried to put on a tough front, but I know deep down it really bothered him. I’ll take a little bit of credit for talking him out of quitting. When I said you’ll be playing right into his hands, that seemed to turn him around. He does have pretty thick skin, but he’s more vulnerable than he’d like to let on. But when this time of year rolls around when we get close to the next season, he always seems renewed and looks forward to the upcoming season and says he’ll give it at least one more year. That’s where we are now. Now that Christmas is behind us, he seems very excited about this season and especially with this year’s Indy 500 being the 100th.
Honestly I think it will drive him (and me) crazy whenever the day comes that he does finally give up this site. I also think he knows that. Knowing George as I do, he would never say he’s quitting, then come back and then quit again. Once he’s done, he’ll be done. And I think that finality scares him to death. To him, it’s easier to keep writing three times a week and stay on top of things than it would be to quit and wonder if he stopped too soon and then deeply regret it. Although he frets over topics, he doesn’t really speak about quitting very much but I know it has been on his mind.
George obviously knows I’m writing an article for today, but doesn’t yet know what it’s about. He’ll always read it before loading it up but he has never asked me to change anything other than typos. I’m sure George won’t censor this one either.
But I thought his readers would like to know (a) how much self-inflicted pressure he feels as he worries over topics and (b) how his mind works as he thinks about his eventual exit from here one day.
On one hand, I’d like to have my husband back on many of those nights he is in there typing away and not deal with those times when his ideas have run dry; but I’m afraid that whenever that day comes, he’ll be so full of regret and second-guessing that he’ll be unbearable to live with for a long time.
So long as George can keep a pipeline of fresh topics going at a steady pace, I think he’ll keep doing this for a little while longer.