An ode to NASCAR.
No, not really. I'm not sure I even know what an ode really is.
And I'm not going to write about why I like NASCAR or why you should. But I do and you should.
I am going to write about what I learned in regards to human nature in my NASCAR conversion process.
I grew up playing sports: softball, basketball, football, volleyball. I tried a few others, but these were my staples. I played them year after year as a tween and as a teen.
I also grew up watching sports. This was a slightly wider range, all of the above plus golf and bull riding.
I like sports.
Then I got married. He wasn't into sports -- except racing. (You may have noticed that racing was not on my list.) And I remember, as clearly as if it were yesterday, saying, "Racing isn't even a real sport. All they do is drive around in circles."
For years I griped and moaned whenever he wanted to watch a race. I mocked and belittled. I saw racing and anyone who watched it as trailer trash.
And then one day, a little over ten years ago, I decided to try to understand what he liked about it. Or at least fake it in an effort to bond with my husband. I missed watching sports with someone on Sunday afternoons.
And guess what. There is more to it than I thought. I am a fan. I have a driver (Tony Stewart, #14, Office Depot). My NASCAR podcast (Rowdy) is my favorite one to listen to, the one I won't miss. And we, as a family, had a NASCAR competition all season long (Sam won).
But what I learned, and have since been able to observe a lot in others, is that some of us tend to mock things that we don't understand. We feel like we have to have an opinion, and since we haven't been converted then it must be stupid.
I've caught myself doing it many times since about other things. Once I catch myself I try to understand why. I try to learn more. And usually I find that, just like with racing, there is more to it than I'm seeing.
The list of things I've judged prematurely is way too long. Facebook. Blogging. Wrestling. Therapy. And people.
That last one is the one I'm most ashamed of. I have so often judged people too quickly. Because they are a little out of the norm, different from me, or challenging to understand in some other way I have written them off as less than. This is way more serious than mocking a sport. And very hard to change.
But I'm trying. Because it's worth it. Just like with racing, when I've taken the time to understand it has paid off. It has broadened my thinking as well as my circle of friends.
And if there's one thing I always need, it's a bigger circle.
And congratulations to Jimmie Johnson for winning four championships in a row. Amazing!