During the Sebring 12-hour race on Saturday, a friend tweeted this: "I'm awful but there is one team I don't want to win their class." I tweeted back that she wasn't alone, and we agreed that it wasn't that we wished something terrible for anyone in particular, we just wished better for other teams.
Which started me thinking about being a fan of particular drivers or teams—and honestly, about hating others. I'm sure all race fans have some individuals/groups they love, dozens they're pretty neutral about, and some they dislike intensely.
My two questions:
- Do you dislike people because they're the antagonists of your favorites, or because of their own actions?
- How much do you dislike them? How much ill do you wish them?
I dislike for both reasons. I'll never forgive Risi Competizione (specifically Jaime Melo) for running Joerg Bergmeister into the wall at the end of Sebring 2007. Joerg, of course, is a good guy in my world (I've met him plenty over the years, as he partnered with my favorite driver, Pat Long; that's us in the photo). I dislike the Busch brothers in NASCAR for general douchebaggery. And I dislike a particular driver (and therefore team) in the United Sports Car Championship because he was a condescending asshole to me in person, when class and politeness would have cost him nothing.
It's the last guy who I dislike the most, and feel actual anger toward, but that's personal. Perhaps I could work up the desire to confront him and tell him off or to wish for his comeuppance. But violence against him is still hard to contemplate. The others? I just don't want them to win. That's about it.
Where I'm going with this is that I know some drivers get angry emails from fans. Even death threats. And it's hard to understand how they can go that far. I set up a scenario in Braking Points where Kate hurt the most loved driver in the country and got death threats as a result ... which I initially thought was overdramatic and a stretch. Then I heard Danica gets death threats. And Dr. Panoz showed me one.
I suppose people in this world are always more crazy than we can imagine.