Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm a Bad Fan

I've been reading The Fort over on Rivals, and everyone is so geeked for the start of the football season tomorrow. And I just can't do it. I mean, part of me is happy that football is back and that starting next week, my Saturdays and Sundays are booked for the next four monthsm, but I can't get excited about App State.

It's just another no-win game. Win big and yippee do, it's App State. If it's close and we win, we're all pissed it was close and no one much cares that we got the win, it's more relief that we avoided a monumental upset (see Ball State last year). Lose and the world ends. Where the fun in that? When all you're basically hoping is that nothing goes horrifically wrong and that you get out of the game without any injuries, the only thing to be pumped about is that baseball can now fade into the background again.

I'm in Michigan right now. I could hop in my car tomorrow morning, drive 45 miles to the west and I'm sure someone would be willing to give me a ticket to go to this game. But I can't do it. If it makes me a bad fan, it makes me a bad fan. Call it my own silent protest that we couldn't even manage to find a Division 1-A opponent to schedule. I'd prefer to save my first real football watching experience of the year for Oregon next week.

Instead of attending/watching that game, I will be heading down to Belle Isle for the American Le Mans Series race. My favorite driver, local boy (and unforunately a Bucknut) Bryan Herta, is starting third and was fastest in practice. Those cars are fricken cool and they're going to slice and dice their way around that circuit. It's going to be an absolute blast. I'll be checking the score on my phone at every opportunity, but I have no doubts that I made the right call about which event to attend this weekend.

By the way, the City of Detroit owes a big thank you to Roger Penske and to all the volunteers working out there at the track. I was there today for Free Prix Day and the island is in amazing condition. They've made a ton of improvements (mainly the paving of the paddock) to the track from six years ago when CART left the city. The volunteers were all great, the circuit should provide for better racing action, and God the weather was perfect. It's looking to be a great weekend down there, and it's another event to bring some positive pub to the city. Everyone was raving about what a beautiful setting it was for a race. I'm so happy that Penske was able to get the race back in the city. I swear they should just make that guy Mayor.

The one downer thusfar is that the shuttle system today was an absolute debacle. Rather than just getting on the bus and going to the track (like 6 years ago), they decided to start charging $5 apiece for the ride, which is fine, especially if they are only charging $5 for parking. But the execution was all wrong. It's like Alex Mitchell missed a block on our famed short-side sweep on third and one.

They were only set up for one person at a time to move through the line, despite a line of a couple hundred people (and multiple buses just sitting there, waiting to take people to the track). In an effort to speed up the line (which didn't work), one worker passed out bracelets. The next person came through and put them on each person (I'm 25, I can do that myself). Then you got up to the lady selling the bracelet and you had to read her the number off your bracelet so she could record it in the book (why? I don't know. It seems that since they were sequential, it'd be easy enough to keep track of which ones had been purchased). After that, a person next to her would give you a ticket that corresponded to your bracelet number (which was never used for anything). You were finally allowed, then, to proceed to the bus. It was the most inefficient thing ever. You've got 5 or 6 people working there. Just open up another point of sale or two!

The only thing that I can come up with is that they were worried about corruption or something (but for the $5 bus fee?) and this was a system of checks and balances. I'm not sure what the big deal is though. The bracelets were in sequential order. The city should know how many are being passed out. It'd be pretty easy to determine how much money should be in the kitty at the end of the day. Hell, give bracelets to the people at each parking lot and have them collect money as you're pulling into the lot. It's not that hard.

One person asked if we could buy bracelets for the rest of the weekend as well (so as to not have to go through this process again). The reply was no, but that that was a good idea and maybe they should think about doing that next year. Yikes.

Then we got on the bus. Our driver drove about 15 miles per hour (including during the trek onto the highway). He then explained that the driver of the bus behind him did not know the route and so he had to show him the way, and couldn't lose him. Shouldn't "knowing the route" be a prereq for something like that? Just asking. Like, maybe take a spin down there the day before so it doesn't become an issue? Or, they have these things called Garmins. They're pretty useful.

As well organized as this event seems to be, I'm fairly confident that they'll get it fixed for tomorrow (having more people at the point of sale would be a BIG help). But if they go with the same process, it's going to become an absolute disaster as 52,000+ people each day make their way down to the island.

Once on Belle Isle, though, it couldn't be more perfect. They've got stuff there for everyone. Moonwalks, slides, slot car racing, Playstations, autograph sessions and Disney stuff for the kids, there are concerts, the paddock, and booze for adults. And they found a support race (the ALMS) which is absolutely perfect for this track. I forgot how much I really do enjoy going to the races there. And even if the improvement to the track don't end up adding passing areas, for the ALMS cars it won't matter. They'll pass anywhere and everywhere. It's going to be awesome. The tighter the track, the more fun the racing gets because the LMP cars can't afford to dick around with the GT cars for too long. So the pressure is on to get past them, and get past them now.

So while hundreds of thousands of people are yelling "GO BLUE!" tomorrow, my alma mater will be in my thoughts, but I'll instead be yelling "GO BRYAN!" in what promises to be a much more exciting event. Just get through this "Functional DNP" without any injuries and then I can kick into football form next week. I've waited this long, I can handle seven more days....especially when all it means is that I'll miss a very vanilla 49-9 nailbiter. And the meltdown that's sure to ensue because OMG WE DIDN'T THROW DEEP ENOUGH!!!!11!


rick@waitingfornextyear said...

So..the world has ended?

Anonymous said...

So... 6 weeks until hockey, right?


Anonymous said...

Wow, prophetic... Go Bucks!

Anonymous said...

Real close on that score, idiot

Eric said...



you gonna commit suicide now?

yippe do! lol.

perhaps next time you stupid UM fans should rattle your keys louder... :-|