By John Basher
I’m a sports fan through and through. I crave competition.
Like many red-blooded American males, I adore the long ball
and abhor the offseason. Given that human beings find every
conceivable way to square off against one another, there’s
no shortage of ways to pass the time. Fortunately, I have a
broad taste for sports. It’s not out of the question for me to
be enchanted by some arcane sport. Of everything I’ve
witnessed, from speed walking to cat juggling (note The Jerk
reference for those paying attention), nothing beats
motocross. Here’s why:
Soccer. The 2014 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Brazil
this month. The world’s premier soccer players will flop, cry,
plead and fake injury in order to get the referee’s attention.
It will be atrocious acting, like Sean Connery in The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen. Perhaps the worst part is that once
these lads score, they streak around the pitch like it’s the
greatest accomplishment the world has ever seen. The
invention of the lightbulb and the discovery of penicillin will
pale in comparison to a Lionel Messi goal.
THE WORLD’S PREMIER SOCCER
PLAYERS WILL FLOP, CRY, PLEAD
AND FAKE INJURY IN ORDER TO
GET THE REFEREE’S ATTENTION. IT
WILL BE ATROCIOUS ACTING, LIKE
SEAN CONNERY IN THE LEAGUE OF
Motocross racers, on the other hand, are resilient and
tend to fly under the radar. They don’t fake injury or take a
dive. Take Justin Brayton, for example. He raced Supercross
with a broken hand. Adam Cianciarulo attempted to race
after dislocating his shoulder three times in one day. When
the checkered flag waves for the winners, they stand on the
podium and smile for the cameras for
a few minutes. After that it’s business
as usual. There’s no crying (unless it’s
NASCAR. Unlike a large contingent
of the public, I think that NASCAR
drivers are athletes. Jimmy Johnson
and Jeff Gordon look the part. Tony
Stewart? “Smoke” can down a bucket
of fried chicken, and his body doesn’t
hide that fact. Yet the guy raced with
a broken leg last year, so he deserves
credit. As impressive as the sound
and fury of NASCAR is, it’s like watching a merry-go-round. Nothing happens
for 480 of the 500 laps. This
follow-the-leader style of racing isn’t
evident on the motocross track.
Instead, racers switch up lines and do
everything short of killing the guy in
front of them to get by. Every corner
is a new opportunity to advance in
position. Motocross racing is exciting.
Golf. Bubba Watson won his second Masters Tournament green jacket
this year. The payoff was just over
$1.6 million. Watson spent four days
strutting through an immaculately
manicured lawn in Augusta, Georgia while a caddie toted
Bubba’s golf bag around. Watson earned roughly the same
prize earnings in four days as Ryan Villopoto did in winning
the 2014 Supercross title. The difference is that Villopoto
spent 17 of 18 weekends in a row on the road. RV risked life
and limb. Watson had to brave the possibility of heat stroke
as he slapped a little white ball around. His efforts earned
him $400,000 a day. Professional golfers are smart fellas,
because they understand risk versus reward. Motocross
racers put it all on the line for pocket change. While the
world’s best racers are fool-hearted for picking a profession
that lacks fiscal gain, they definitely earn their paycheck.
Baseball. Considered America’s game, baseball is one of
the most popular sports on the planet. Why? The idea of
unification and working toward the greater good creates
unpredictable results. A team of also-rans can uproot a
stacked team of superstars.
Motocross also produces David-versus-Goliath opportunities. Privateer Ricky Ryan won the Daytona Supercross many
years ago, back when Stanton, Johnson, Lechien and Glover
were household names. Weston Peick beat most of the fac-tory-hired guns at various races during the 2014 Supercross
series. However, that’s where the similarities between baseball and motocross end. Baseball players stand around hoping
for the action to come to them. They wait their turn to swing
at a baseball and often strike out. Motocross, on the other
hand, is action-packed from the moment the gate drops.
There’s no seventh-inning stretch. It’s wide open for 30
minutes plus two laps, and then they do it all over again.
Hockey. On second thought, hockey is the only sport aside
from motocross that is grossly underrated. It’s actually one
of a select list of sports that is more macho than motocross.
Racers don’t sprint as fast as they can with the sole purpose
of knocking their competition through the boards. The adage,
“Give blood. Play hockey,” rings true. Bravo to those
ice-skating gladiators. They are out of their minds.
Coincidentally, that’s exactly how hockey players view
motocross racers. Regardless, hockey players have it easy,
because their season typically lasts one month less than the
combined Supercross and National schedule.
Isn’t it funny how people are totally clueless about reality
and think that their favorite sport is the best?