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.
Categories: auto racing, sports story
I heard it put beautifully the other day. If you are choosing teams for a pick-up game in ANY other sport, do you think any of the drivers at any level are going to be picked? If these are the top athletes, shouldn’t there be SOME form of visible ability? I’d pick these guys dead last in a game of hoops, football, baseball, hockey, you name it.
I have a hard time visualizing Tony Stewart’s tubby ass in pick-up basketball game. If he were on the “skins” team, the “shirts” would lose from dying of laughter…
Sweet blog. I kind of agree with your post but at the same time when I watched one of those behind the scenes of Jeff Gordon racing – I was blown away. Those guys have to be strong, have good stamina, and in shape to finish a race like that. Most of them nowadays are lean and in shape. I would say they have to be in good shape. You have outliers like Tony – but what about Shawn Kemp, Paul Pierce, Eddy Curry, Donyell Marshall, and peeps like Glen Davis…and of course FN Derick Coleman. John Daly is a slob – but Tiger can press 300 lbs and his ripped (or should i say sterioded up). So I do agree with you..i also think over time the elite golfers and NASCAR fools are althetes to dominate their sport. Lot of fatties play baseball as well but i think the skill of hitting a ball makes up for it.
You make a good point about the conditions the drivers have to be in. That’s why I singled out guys like Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards. Hell, Edwards have better looking abs than mine!
As far as Stewart being an outlier, don’t forget about Juan Pablo Montoya and Kurt Busch. Montoya is another fat-ass and Kurt is just a punk. Pierce is in better shape than he used to be, but Kemp, Curry, Marshall and Coleman all have one thing in common: they ate their way out of the NBA. Those fools are exceptions to the rule.
By the way, Stewart is still a lard-ass :).
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