My Brain on NASCAR: Superheroes on the superspeedways

col-cathyelliottI like a good trend as much as the next girl, but this superhero thing is starting to confuse me.

When did there get to be so many? Batman and Superman are usually the first names that come to mind, along with Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk … and that’s just for starters. Wonder Woman is an obvious favorite because, well, she’s Wonder Woman. When admirers compliment her on her killer accessories, like that combination tiara/boomerang gadget, they’re being literal. It’s a killer.

Like it or not, it is now Marvel’s world, or maybe it belongs to DC Comics. I don’t really know the difference, but those two franchises seem to own their world and the rest of us just live in it. Between the two, they probably boast a population larger than America itself, and we’re pretty big.

Someone did me a very good turn recently, prompting me to end my thank-you note with the words, “my hero.”

A couple of days later I was watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.,  and heard someone refer to Jimmie Johnson, who won the event, as a hero. This set me to thinking about what it really means to be a hero in this confusing world that we’re all doing our best to muddle through.

What defines a hero? A hero is someone who is transformed from ordinary to extraordinary by chance, or by circumstance.

What it really boils down to is that a hero is usually someone with a good heart, good intentions and good aim, who through his actions becomes the object of others’ admiration.

Johnson, whose victory at Fontana moved him up to sixth on NASCAR’s all-time win list, was practically begging for superhero comparisons. His No. 48 Chevy sported a Superman-themed paint scheme for the race, part of the promotional campaign for the upcoming blockbuster movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was driving the corresponding Batman-themed car, so yes, the Batmobile was literally in the race.

Who do you root for when both combatants are good guys? Batman is edgier and has the cool gadgets, but Superman can fly and isn’t afraid to wear spandex in public, which believe me, is very brave. He is the epitome of the all-American boy, except for the fact that he’s an alien. But he lives here on Earth now so I guess we’ve accepted him within our borders, pending the approval of Mr. Trump.

Throughout his stellar career, Jimmie Johnson has for the most part avoided controversy. The biggest complaint about him is the fact that he just wins too doggone much. That’s true, but he doesn’t accomplish it by habitually knocking other drivers out of the way. He just quietly shows up on race day with a ton of driving talent, a faster car and a better crew than the other guys. What a concept.

Johnson does a lot of media interviews, but he doesn’t use the time to trash NASCAR or his fellow competitors. He just thanks his sponsors and talks about the race. He is often rewarded for his hard work and accomplishments by being referred to as boring, or bland.

This is not a new phenomenon. Flashier competitors with higher popularity ratings have eclipsed other athletes – really great ones – throughout the course of history. Pete Sampras held the record for Grand Slam men’s tennis singles titles for years, but was always overshadowed by rival Andre Agassi, although Sampras won 20 of the 32 matches they played.

Roger Maris was the first baseball player to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record, but all the fans were rooting for Mickey Mantle that year, and some actually booed Maris’ historic achievement.

It seems important to note that the Olympic diver who makes no perceptible splash is usually the one who goes home with the gold.

He may be viewed as being overly glib in his interviews, or just too non-controversial in general to suit the personal preferences of some, but let’s not rush to dismiss Jimmie Johnson as nothing more than a modern-day, mild-mannered Clark Kent. There’s a fun guy lurking in there. He actually showed up for his post-race press conference in California wearing, of all things, a flowing red Superman cape.

“More than anything, I just wanted to beat the 88 so I had bragging rights over Junior all week,” he said. “Then we won the race. (Earnhardt finished 11th.) So I think I got the upper hand on him for a little bit. I don’t expect it to last for long.”

So far the Caped Crusader’s PR department has issued no official response, but when the next race rolls around on April 3 at Martinsville Speedway, I’ll be keeping an eye on the sky in case a certain bat-shaped signal happens to appear.

I expect the Man of Steel might be doing the same.

Comments

comments

Girls Hoops: Seahawks top Chiefs; Tigers rally for win

Girls Hoops: Seahawks top Chiefs; Tigers rally for winTuesday night's girls basketball showdown in the North Myrtle Beach-Myrtle [more]

Boys Hoops: No. 3 Tigers falter; MB rallies past NMB

Boys Hoops: No. 3 Tigers falter; MB rallies past NMBIt took a little time for the Myrtle Beach High [more]

Chiefs down Sharks, take charge of region title race

Chiefs down Sharks, take charge of region title raceThe North Myrtle Beach High wrestling team won nine consecutive [more]

Coastal to renew longtime football rivalry with Liberty

Coastal to renew longtime football rivalry with LibertyThe football rivalry between Coastal Carolina and Liberty will be [more]

CCU's Ruiz makes cut but falls short of Masters bid

CCU's Ruiz makes cut but falls short of Masters bid Coastal Carolina junior Luis Ruiz shot a final-round, 4-over par [more]

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at Troy

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at TroyTrailing by 14 points at halftime, Coastal Carolina went on [more]

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry Showcase

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry ShowcaseThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team won [more]

Strand runners dominate NMB Winter Run 15K/5K

Strand runners dominate NMB Winter Run 15K/5KMore than 200 runners pounded the pavement through the streets [more]

Hoops: CF girls win in OT; MB claims sweep over MC

Hoops: CF girls win in OT; MB claims sweep over MCThe Carolina Forest girls basketball team battled its way to [more]

Coastal's Pierrot picked in second round of MLS draft

Coastal's Pierrot picked in second round of MLS draftAfter a career which saw him named the Sun Belt [more]

NMB boys, girls suffer first region setbacks at Wilson

NMB boys, girls suffer first region setbacks at WilsonThe North Myrtle Beach High boys and girls basketball teams [more]

CF girls blow out Knights; boys lose to WF at buzzer

CF girls blow out Knights; boys lose to WF at buzzerDespite the ice-cold weather outside, the Carolina Forest girls basketball [more]

CCU Hoops: Chants suffer sixth straight loss at USA

CCU Hoops: Chants suffer sixth straight loss at USAThe Coastal Carolina men's basketball team suffered their sixth consecutive [more]

Conway sweeps Socastee; NMB, SJ games postponed

Conway sweeps Socastee; NMB, SJ games postponedThe Conway High boys and girls basketball teams swept visiting [more]

Boys Hoops: Green breaks CA record; Braves beat CF

Boys Hoops: Green breaks CA record; Braves beat CFChristian Academy of Myrtle Beach junior Michael Green reached another [more]

Lady Panthers' second-half surge knocks off Socastee

Lady Panthers' second-half surge knocks off SocasteeThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team broke up a [more]

Coastal adds Michigan OL transfer to recruiting class

Coastal adds Michigan OL transfer to recruiting classCoastal Carolina head football coach Joe Moglia announced Sean Fitzgerald, [more]

Earnhardt clears air about interest in buying Panthers

Earnhardt clears air about interest in buying PanthersRetired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is interested [more]

CCU's Ruiz picked to play in Latin America Amateur

CCU's Ruiz picked to play in Latin America AmateurCoastal Carolina junior golfer Luis Ruiz has been selected to [more]

CAC swimmers clean up on medals at Tiger Invitational

CAC swimmers clean up on medals at Tiger InvitationalThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) sent 37 swimmers to compete [more]

MB grad Sessions waived during 11th NBA season

MB grad Sessions waived during 11th NBA seasonFor the first time since his high school days at [more]

Horry/Georgetown Invite: CF, NMB, MB finish 1-2-3

Horry/Georgetown Invite: CF, NMB, MB finish 1-2-3The Carolina Forest High wrestling team captured the bi-county championship [more]

Battle at the Beach: MB makes it rain 3s; CA falls

Battle at the Beach: MB makes it rain 3s; CA fallsOn Friday night, a leaky roof forced the Myrtle Beach [more]

CCU Hoops: Coastal splits with visiting Georgia State

CCU Hoops: Coastal splits with visiting Georgia StateArtur Labinowicz scored a career, team and game-high 32 points, [more]

Hoops: Chiefs, Tigers use last-second shots for wins

Hoops: Chiefs, Tigers use last-second shots for winsNorth Myrtle Beach High's Cooper Chandler picked the right time [more]

Girls Hoops: Seahawks top Chiefs; Tigers rally for win

Girls Hoops: Seahawks top Chiefs; Tigers rally for winTuesday night's girls basketball showdown in the North Myrtle Beach-Myrtle [more]

Boys Hoops: No. 3 Tigers falter; MB rallies past NMB

Boys Hoops: No. 3 Tigers falter; MB rallies past NMBIt took a little time for the Myrtle Beach High [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach