Hasn’t everyone heard their dad say: “It’s all fun and games until……”
And you can fill in the blank.
– Somebody loses an eye
– You crack your skull wide open
– Your finger gets cut in half
And so on, and so forth.
Dads were – and are – good at assessing and minimizing risk to their kids. And especially when it comes to NEEDLESS risk. Knowing that kids do things all the time – in the mere business of being, well, KIDS – that could result in grave bodily harm, dads look to take the auxilliary risk off the table entirely.
When it comes to sport, we are slowing waking up to the notion of taking needless risk out of the equation entirely. And given how risky auto racing is at face value, there was simply no need for what happened between Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. on that dark, dank dirt track last weekend.
The entire incident is more a reflection on our “what bad could happen to ME?” society. I read with bemused horror more and more stories of people dying taking selfies.
Yes. Dying. As in: “Children Watch Parents Tumble to Death Off Cliff Taking A Selfie”.
Our sense of danger as humans, was keenest thousands of years ago. Our ability to hear and process the sound of a single snapped twig in the forest was all that separated us from a bloody death.
Now, we are coddled in the warm embrace of technology, and advanced western civilization.
Our cell phones remind us. Our airbags protect us. And our media culture seems to trivilalize (or at least commoditize) danger, harm, and death.
I mean, anyone with brain enough to pilot a race car, has brain enough to know not to run out into traffic.
But that same brain in Ward also said: “Go out there and MAKE A SCENE.”
It’s what you see on TV every weekend in NASCAR. And of course, the ruling powers of the sport love it.
“Have at it boys! Throw those helmets at passing cars. Get into pushing matches on the track apron! Anything for us to get bumped a few notches higher on the SportsCenter rundown.”
Until something like this happens. And then everyone gets all quiet and reflective and says: “Oh. Uh… yeah. Well…”
Maybe we should start enforcing stricter standards about on-track confrontations.
Yeah. Ya think?
Everybody wants to put a scorecard down on blame. Mine would be 70-30, with Stewart taking the lighter end.
Yeah, I know. He appeared to “light the tires” to scare/intimidate/embarrass Ward. The added torque of these dirt track cars led to a momentary spin out, that caught Ward in the wheels, cartwheeling himself to his own death.
But in the end, this incident needs to be a stark reminder that the real world is not some reality show. It has consequences that last forever. You don’t get to return in a future episode to carry on your petty little “feud” for the sake of the TV cameras.
This is real life.
Time for everyone to start acting like it.