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.

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat Braves

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat BravesSt. James traveled to Prestwick Country Club on Wednesday to [more]

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former school

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former schoolMyrtle Beach football player J.J. Jones has been cleared to [more]

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyball

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyballThe reigning Class 4A state champion North Myrtle Beach High [more]

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loop

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loopDespite Hurricane Dorian costing Horry County Schools a week of [more]

Chants capture historic victory over Jayhawks

Chants capture historic victory over JayhawksCoastal Carolina football recorded its first-ever win over a Power [more]

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls Like it did after last year’s state championship games, Horry [more]

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports schedule

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports scheduleHurricane Dorian is not expected to make landfall on the [more]

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup title

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup titleCoach R.J. Bass wanted a strong early test for his [more]

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers opened their season the same way [more]

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openers

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openersTommy Norwood tried to nix the Gatorade bath. He raised [more]

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootout

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootoutWilliam Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross [more]

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-match

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-matchThe Carolina Forest girls golf team made a strong showing [more]

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by Warriors

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by WarriorsThe Palmetto State made a strong showing in the Border [more]

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World Am

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World AmBeautiful weather greeted the 3,215 golfers participating in the 36th [more]

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champs

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champsTwo Coast FA boys teams returned home as champions from [more]

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at horn

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at hornMatt Reel sighed more than once when talking about his [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outing

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outingFive Coast FA boys teams entered the Charlotte Invitational over [more]

Hemingway follows family, teammates to Gamecocks

Hemingway follows family, teammates to GamecocksSix minutes after his youngest child had announced his college [more]

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country season

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country seasonBuilding on the success of the track and field season, [more]

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football poll

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football pollDefending state champion Myrtle Beach opened the 2019 preseason as [more]

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach