This whole flap over Seahawks WR Golden Tate’s post on Twitter saying that NASCAR drivers are not athletes is waaay overblown.
That’s because it is so obvious that those drivers are not athletes. That doesn’t mean that those drivers do not possess skills that make them the best drivers in the world. It just means, well, that they do not possess any athletic ability.
I think a lot of sports fans confuse athletic ability and skill.
I define “athlete” as one who possess God-given ability to run faster, jump higher, and overpower other participants via sheer strength. Examples of such players are in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, tennis – and yes, even soccer.
I’m sorry, but I do not see NASCAR drivers being physically imposing enough to do well in the aforementioned sports. Aside from Carl Edwards and Jimmy Johnson, none of the drivers really look the part.
I mean, can you see pudgy-ass Tony Stewart outrun LeBron James and hitting a jump shot? Can you see little-ass Kyle Busch going over the middle in an NFL game to catch a pass and make yards after the catch? Can you see my favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. racking up goals on a hockey rink?
Now as for skill, those drivers definitely have that and then some. I mean, it takes a special kind of skill (and mindset) to go over 160 mph in a 110-degree plus car going by drivers driving the same speed for 4 hours. Plus, there is some strategy involved – when to change tires, gas up.
But as I said earlier, do not confuse athletic ability and skill. It’s the same argument I’d make for golfers. It takes an enormous amount of skill to drive and place balls on a golf course, and greater skill to putt on the green. Again, I cannot picture fat-ass John Daly lighting it up on a basketball court, football field, or a baseball diamond. Ditto for Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim.
The only thing I wish Tate would do is stick by this comments instead of going the P.C. route and backtracking. After Johnson challenged him to come to the track, Tate should have challenged his, Stewart’s and other drivers’ asses to the gridiron.
Tate would have won that argument.