Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, January 2, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
After another exhausting day of short-story writing, book reading, guitar playing, snack eating, and, most notably, football watching, I am ready to face another week.
Oh, wait. It’s already Friday. Check that. This’ll be easy*.
I’ve got a small appointment that should require no more than having my finger pricked. I might test positive for spray cheese.
No more cheap imitations of Keith Jackson yelling “AL-uh-BAM-uh!” The national college football championship no longer involves the South. This year Pickett’s Charge occurred on New Year’s, after the Southerners split their forces.
I’m not personally remorseful. I just wanted to see good games. Ohio State beat Alabama, but it was a good game. Oregon’s uniforms apparently left Florida State with sunspots for two quarters, and, then, in the second half, the Seminoles got blind.
I always use X’s and O’s to analyze big-time college football.
This morning, though, thoughts turn to other issues, this in spite of bowl games matching Pittsburgh (6-6) against Houston (7-5), Tennessee (6-6) versus Iowa (7-5), Kansas State (9-3) lining up across from UCLA (9-3), and last and alarmingly latest, Oklahoma State (6-6) facing the stern challenge of Washington (8-5).
The Sprint All-Star Race will be replayed at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 7, on Fox Sports 2.
I don’t remember who won it. Time out. Jamie McMurray. Thanks, Google.
McMurray, against all odds, failed subsequently to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which is damned near all-inclusive. Is there anyone else who didn’t make it? Uh … Danica Patrick. Okay. There’s one.
I can reacquaint myself with this drama of athletic (and internal-combustion-powered) competition if I’ll only set my timer to “1/7/15, 8:00 p.m.” Maybe I’ll watch it, since Pitt isn’t playing Houston, if The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance isn’t on TCM.
Still, my thoughts drift inexplicably to NASCAR. Maybe it’s because Dan Mullen reminds me of Dale Jarrett. Or because Allen Bestwick is announcing football games now. Or because Marty Smith is waxing inspirational and waning cautionary about lead options and bubble screens.
During the coming year, there will be new cars! Oh, that’s never happened. If NASCAR makes any more attempts to save the owners money, Rick Hendrick’s going to have to take over a closed-down GM assembly plant to build racing Chevrolets, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Impala is going to roll out of the same line where once there were Achievas.
I’m going to watch from afar and pay attention to items other than what will soon be clattering out on the vast information disseminator known as Twitter. I’m ready to predict that, soon, torrents of words will start invading the ozone layer in waves like these: (1.) Is this the crucial year for Danica (she hasn’t had one yet)? (2.) Drivers praise handling of new car; (3.) This could be Junior’s year; (4.) Does Jeff Gordon have one more title in him? and (5.) Jimmie Johnson tracking seventh title.
Is there an echo? Oh, yeah. One that caroms around the canyons and ruffles the leaves for decades.
I also expect Kevin Harvick to suggest that he is being overlooked and, by gosh, he’s the champion and “they” had better be loaded for bear if they’re going to take it. A great story will be which team dares to load its truck for bear instead of racing. I’m not expecting it to happen, though. They talk big game.
Carl Edwards will be sure he’s going to “have a blast” at Joe Gibbs Racing, and his remarks will be colored by an offseason discovery that, in fact, Toyota, not Ford, makes the greatest production cars the world has ever known.
All eyes will be on Junior except for the ones on Smoke. A few other eyes will wander, though, ultimately, in vain and obscurity.
By Phoenix in the fall, more people will be on probation with NASCAR than among the citizenry of Maricopa County. No one in NASCAR will have to wear orange jumpsuits and camp out in the desert. No one in NASCAR will have to do anything other than smile and say the new car is just peachy. They have a waterboard, and they know how to use it.
On Joey Logano’s twenty-fifth birthday, May 24, he will finally receive his Eagle Scout rank. An offseason trip abroad helped him with his Citizenship in the World merit badge. By the way, no one has ever won the NASCAR championship and become an Eagle Scout in the same year. Much will be made of this. Normally, one cannot become an Eagle Scout after one’s eighteenth birthday, but this is NASCAR.
Many insightful men and women write about NASCAR for a living. I’m watching from afar, but it just seems to me that coverage has become focused narrowly on writing whatever it is that will draw clicks, tweets, links, and other acts that require precious little gray matter.
I always believed that freedom of the press implies an ethic in which part of a writer’s job is to give people what they want, and part is to give them what they need. What do they need? That’s why there are columns and editorials and analyses and, yes, even blogs. Well, there used to be. Blogs are still strong. Hey. I got one. No, two. That’s where I draw the line. Unless someone will pay me to write a third. Then I’ll consider it.
At present, and, again, I’m watching from a distance, and forests can be distorted at least as much as trees, but it seems as if what people apparently want, according to available data, is “what happened, who did what, who snarked about it, what does Junior think? and do you think it will help Danica?”
Try something new. Maybe somebody will like something he (or she) doesn’t know already.
Or, more likely, that streak of rebellion is why I’m not around anymore.
I dare you to read a book! One of these: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1
*Famous last words.