Sunday, May 29, 2005

Start your engines

OK, I usually don't use my blog for social commentary and such, but I will today.

The hype this month in the world of auto racing was about Indy Car sensation Danica Patrick. A rookie from Illinois. A female (and cute too). She qualifies 4th for one of the world's greatest races, the Indy 500.

I'm more of a NASCAR guy. Have I not mentioned that before? I recognize way more names. I can roll of a long list of drivers, their numbers, and their primary sponsors. I'm a fan of most drivers. Dale Jr., Jarrett, Kahne, Biffle, Stewart. I don't like Jeff Gordon and his padawan Jimmie Johnson, 'cuz their so dominating.

And I kinda hate Robby Gordon. He's not very good, always crashes, kind of an asshole. And I especially don't respect him after he talks smack about Danica, saying that she has an unfair advantage cuz she's like at least 80 pounds lighter than any other driver and the IRL should change the rules to take that advantage away. This is a guy who's done IRL, and has raced in the last for Indy 500's, but not this year. So why is he even talking?

I'll turn on the race on Sunday. I want to see my guys win. But instead of the normal NASCAR, I turned to ABC to watch the Indy 500. I wanted to see how Danica would fair. And I really wanted to see her win.

Anyways, Danica starts and finishes fourth at the Brickyard, despite stalling in the pit, an accident that damaged her right front wing, and falling as far back as 16th. She was even leading with 6 laps to go. (Full story here). More importantly, she proved that she belongs with the boys out on the race track. She didn't win this time, but she will win that race some day. She will get some of that sweet milk. Mmm... milk...

Excuse me. Now, Danica's current and possible future success get me thinking. What if she became pregnant? I really doubt she'd would engage in such a dangerous sport while with child. I would think that her racing carrer would be on hold for probably 2 years (she'd probably miss a portion of each of 2 seasons). And that's per child she wishes to have (FYI: she's engaged to be married).

Then I start thinking on a grander scale. How does pregnancy affected women in all professional sports? Like WNBA players? Soccer players? NCAA athletes? At what point in their pregnancy do they stop competing to take care of their bodies? Does their athletic condition provide for any advantages (e.g. less complications during pregnancy). When do they choose to come back? Or, like other professional women, do they put off having a family to further their career. Have studies been done on this sort of thing? If not, I would be very interested in conducting such a study. Unfortunately, this would be a long-term study that I'm not patient enough for. And you can't just make someone pregnant for your own gain (I doubt there would be any athletes who would want to be pregnant with my kid for the sole purpose of being my guinea pig).

So, I guess that's all I have to say about that.

Oh, one more thing about Danica. She's going to do one of two thing with her success. She can lift the sport of open-wheel racing and IRL back to its former glory. Which will be hard, since NASCAR is the king of auto racing in America. Or, after success in IndyCar, she can jump to NASCAR and try finding success at that level. That can mean many more sponsorship dollars. If she's even interested in money.

No matter what happens, I wish that girl the best of luck in the 2005 IRL season and her entire career. Go get 'em, Sport.

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