Once Again, Children See The Wrong Thing
by Jane Smith
No matter whether it is a Winston Cup race or a Sunbelt race or even the Snowball Derby, there is a child's hero in that race. No matter what we say and stress to our kids, kids learn by what they see and NOT always by what we hope they hear.
How many children love Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart? More than you know. Adults seem to say unkind remarks about Jeff Gordon, mostly because like Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt once said, people don't like repeat winners all the time. But kids, kids love Jeff Gordon and my own 8 year old is included in that. Jeff has been his favorite for awhile now and you don't say bad things about his Gordon.
Tony Stewart has also become a kids' favorite but why I am not sure except for maybe his wins. Kids like his Home Depot Pontiac and he is the teammate to Bobby LaBonte. Both Stewart and Gordon have no children but I am sure that they must realize how they effect our children.
When Stewart hit Gordon purposely after the race, everyone automatically thought of an incident last year, not after a race but during the race caution. That incident also involved children's heros and once again, they were shown that being a bully is what you do when you are a sore loser. That may sound strong but racing is bumping, rubbing and pushing. Jeff Gordon did not try to take out Tony Stewart but Stewart felt differently.
Just like Rogers and Anderson, Stewart and Gordon have a history. They have gotten into it before, being warned and fined probably but racing sometimes brings out the "Dr. Jeykl and Mr. Hyde" in men. In Winston Cup, I don't think it is so much the dollar signs like in local racing but more a macho status.
Maybe one day these macho men will stop and think before they show your kids and mine, the wrong side of sportsmanship. Being a bully is costly, I am sure that Tony Stewart knows that now and I know for a fact that Wayne Anderson knows that. You never gain or win anything by being a jackass and showing your butt and that is exactly what happened last Sunday. Bristol may get the best of you but I much rather see something like Bobby LaBonte did than seeing one driver hit another with his car. Remember Bobby got out of that car, threw his helmet at it and only his car took abuse, not someone else.
With so many younger drivers coming into our sport, maybe their sportsmanship will guide our children. They tend to appreciate more what they have been given and even though they get mad and I am sure disappointed at times, it is not so physical as some of our drivers.
Racing is racing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but you never purposely hit your fellow racer in front of your younger fans and give them the idea that you win at any and all costs and paybacks are a bitch. We need less paybacks and more sport.
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