As they say with most bad things that happen, eventually some good will come forth before we know it.
To be totally honest right now, I’m still anxiously counting down the days until those good things finally happen.
Normally by now, especially the week leading up to the annual running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500, it’s a potpourri of events that warm the hearts of all of us who began counting down the days until the green flag drops on the highly anticipated new racing season.
With the coronavirus it seems like it’s akin to when we were kids anxiously awaiting ripping open the packages under the Christmas tree only to have elected officials announce that we won’t be able to open them until a later date that seems to be constantly being postponed until all is perfect in the world, which as we all know will never be the case. With all the great minds and scientists we are blessed with, there is always going to be some sort of sickness or worry.
I’ve been accused of taking this pandemic all too lightly. Those who are fearful talk of the dangers it presents to those affected. The truth of the matter is I realize what this virus is capable of, but the realist in me also believes that a strand of the flu could just as easily affect me than this virus. I by no means claim to be an expert on pandemics, however to hear officials in high places say to expect to lose nearly a quarter of a million folks in the United States alone six weeks ago and after checking the total number of deaths earlier this week, our country is almost 20,000 less than what the experts were predicting as absolute lowest number to expect by mid-April through the first part of May.
I have people very near and dear to me whom I love dearly who are in the group most expected to suffer significantly and tragically possibly be a casualty of this unprecedented virus so I by no means am taking this lightly, but let’s face it, the economy is going to take a while to rebound from the (as I term it) “House Arrest” we’ve been on. We’ve lost all spectator sports for nearly three months which affects employees of not only those sports but those who sell concessions, work at the ticket booths, have businesses that prosper during sports season and that’s just to mention a few.
Race car drivers, especially several locally who race full-time to put food on the table for their families not to mention a roof over their heads, are missing a payday every time a race is canceled.
In my opinion it’s been long enough.
We’ve self quarantined to the point that home lives are being destroyed and to be frank, nearly every person I’ve come into contact with the last three weeks have stated how frustrated they are becoming as it seems the experts’ predictions have produced a helluva lot more bark than bite. Any life lost is tragic but death is inevitable for each and every one of us and if the Good Lord wants to call us home, He’s going to regardless if we’re in the safest, most sanitary facility.
My question is simple: What happened to people using common sense?
If a person thinks they may be infected or just don’t feel like their normal selves, then continue to quarantine. Not a single one of us is going to live forever. For us to continue to hole up like we’re in a plastic bubble is only putting off the inevitable. Government officials are saying the numbers are going to spike once we get to the final stage that allows us to go back to living our normal lives which only makes sense now that more tests are available so naturally more folks are going to be diagnosed.
My challenge to everyone reading this is not to look at how many folks have tragically succumbed to this dreaded virus but rather to look at how many folks have been diagnosed who have recovered. The fear mongering by those heading up all these committees and task forces as well as the mainstream media is doing absolutely nothing to instill confidence in the American people. Just once it would be great to see a headline read, something to the affect that, if I did the math correctly the other day, only 3% of those diagnosed eventually perish.
The word is that until we’re given the “all clear” to finally resume the lives we probably should have been leading since March that sports will more than likely follow the lead of NASCAR and compete with no fans. Talking with Reese O’Connor, one of the proprietors of the Kokomo Speedway, he suggested certain sanctioning bodies may race at the track with only officials and team crew members (six per team) allowed to be on the property.
In my opinion nobody wins in that instance.
Part of the appeal of going to the races, aside from watching fearless drivers go wheel to wheel chasing a win, is the chance to take in the smell of the track, talk to drivers and crew members you’ve come to know over the years and sit in the stands and maybe bet a dollar or however much on who might win each race. Without all that there’s very little if any excitement, which is huge part of the whole race night experience.
Folks, all this has gone on plenty long enough in my opinion. I’m sure there’s going to be numerous folks who disagree, but I sure like my chances of going back to my normal life that I loved and stand the slight risk of maybe getting infected a whole lot better than driving my truck around 465 on a weekend afternoon. There’s more of a chance of most of us being involved in a car crash or some other accident than there is of succumbing to this unprecedented pandemic.
In closing, like I’ve noted above, if someone is reluctant about going out in public, now more than ever we have options, be it FloRacing.com, SpeedshiftTV.com or DirtVision.com to allow those fans a chance to watch the action live from the supposed safety of their own homes. Those like myself who would rather take the chance of possibly, and that’s a big possibly, getting infected doing those things we’ve all come to love and expect to do should have that opportunity. If we all just use common sense, stay away from folks if we don’t feel well then that’s all the sooner we can get on track to getting our lives as we’ve known it back. We as people need to be around other people, it’s just the way we as human beings are made — to interact.
In upcoming columns I will be bringing fans up to date on what various drivers are and have been doing during these trying times and what their plans are when we finally get the green light to proceed as usual.