Indy 500 should crash and burn

I am quickly closing in on the first anniversary of my Hoosier experience and can honestly say that Indiana is the state I now choose to call home. In fact, I am seeking out Indiana experiences in order to ensure that I’m ingrained in the Hoosier lifestyle.

Last fall I listened as Hoosier politicians told me all about Hoosier values and how they supported them. Unfortunately, nobody ever bothered to define them for me, so I took that to mean that I should do the things that other Hoosiers do.

Obviously, I’ve gone to a few Hoosier basketball games. Near as I can tell, the only people who haven’t been to a Hoosier basketball game are babies who have been born since the end of the basketball season in March.

I also made it a point to attend the Little 500. I was fortunate enough to be sitting right behind the Sig Eps. When they won the race, I immediately felt like I was a proud Hoosier, and why not? The team I was sitting behind won the race that defines IU in the minds of bicycle racers across the nation.

Another proud Hoosier tradition is going over to Brown County and touring the state park when all the leaves change color. I found the fall leaves to be spectacular, although I found the fact that people in Nashville, Ind., are able to charge for parking in their tourist trap a bit galling.

But I have to admit that I’ve failed the Hoosier values test in one critical category. I cannot stand car races. Simply put, I have no clue why anybody would ever want to go to the Indianapolis 500.

In fact, Sports Illustrated ran a story about a crash at another race this year and then had its credentials withdrawn for a day or two until the race officials had a change of heart. Ironically, this freedom of the press issue might be the most exciting story to come out of the Indy 500 this year.

Before anybody accuses me of being completely ignorant about the sport (they would be 90 percent correct), I want to point out that I went to the Speedway on my very first trip to Indiana, two months before arriving in Bloomington.

I took the little bus around the track listening to a recording about the history of the Speedway, while at the same time looking at all the seats and looking at the golf course in the middle. I have to confess it was very impressive seeing row after row of bleachers. Eventually, we made our way around the track to the finish line, where the bus came to a halt. I got a little thrill when the voice on the recording talked about the significance of the bricks.

The thrill did not last very long. I realized that most people who pay to see the race never get to see the finish line. They’re doomed to learn the winner by listening to announcements. They can never be sure who is in first place unless they check the gigantic rotating informational boards. Simply put, auto racing is a boring sport to watch and it is joined at the Speedway by the only sport that is possibly more boring to watch — golf.

After we finished listening to the recording, the bus started up again and chugged its way around the rest of the track and back to the museum. I spent the next hour and a half looking at the cars on display and looking at the visitors to the museum, who were obviously racing fans.

It was then that I realized I do not understand and will never understand auto racing and will never be a full-blooded Hoosier. I can assure you that come race day, while all of Indiana is on its way to the race track, I will be heading in the opposite direction. Look for me on the shores of Lake Monroe or at some other relaxing spot. I just hope the rest of you have as much fun as I do.

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