Sunday, May 25, 2008

INDY 500 !!!!! Yea baby, it's on

Indy is on and I'm planted in my chair ready to enjoy this year's race for the first time in HI-Def. It's better than being there. Maybe I'll be able to find my daughter in the crowd this year, there's only 300,000 people to choose from. I have some history with this race. It's probably the only sporting event that I look forward to watching on TV each year. Here's why.

I am sitting here watching the pre-race show with a ticket stub in my hand from the 54th running of the Indy 500 on Saturday, May 30, 1970. The ticket has a picture of the 1969 winner Mario Andretti on it. You would be amazed at the resemblance to his grand son Marco Andretti who is running in this years race. I love the tradition, the pageantry and the family dynasties that have surrounded this race for years. It creates a familiarity that make me feel all warm a fuzzy. I also love the intrigue of the ever present up-start challengers who have only been around for 15 or 20 years. Let's not even talk about those arrogant Europeans and farm boy NASCAR drivers.

In 1970 I went to the race with my dad, I was 17 years old and I don't know for sure but I suspect this was the last race we attended together in the years after my mother died. I suspect I got busy with college and my stuff after this. These trips were the highlight of my year because it was one of the few times during the year that I had his undivided attention. Yes, this day is flooded with emotions and really good memories for me. It really wasn't so much his attention I enjoyed it was a connection that was hanked together, and reinforced by the shear joy of being part of Indy. It's not possible to simply attend an Indy 500 without becoming a part of it. If you haven't been there it's hard to understand but 99% of the experience has little to do with the cars circling the track. The race is the catalyst. It still works the same way for me today, right now, just as powerful, sitting in my living room watching it on TV.

Thanks Pop for giving me some wonderful memories. I love you. I know you're out there watching the race with me today, touching my soul and sharing your spirit with me and others. But, I really wish you could see this in Hi-Def with surround sound and better yet we wouldn't have to lug the cooler 110 rows up into the stands.

Thanks for reading.

PS: Well there's the icing on the cake. Jim Neighbors was unable to attend the race last year and sing the traditional Back Home Again in Indiana. He's back this year. There it is again that flood of emotion. But Jim Neighborss??? that's just scary.

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