Respect. To some, it's nothing more than the title of a popular Aretha Franklin song. To others, however, it means a lot more.
Admittedly, 2013 has been one of the worst years in auto racing history. From bad racing, to terrible announcing, to, saddest of all, driver fatalities, this season has been just awful for all of us who comment on Racing-Reference (the best website in the world, by the way). We all love auto racing with a passion, and to have to see and experience such a mockery of a season is hard, to say the least. However, the worst part about this season for me, and I'm sure for most other posters on here, is that the frustration that has been coursing through our veins throughout the year has built up to a point where we can't control it any longer. Even in the slightest and most trivial disagreements, we lash out at each other as our hidden or not-so-hidden rage flies out from our minds into our fingers and then into the words that we type into the comments box. In recent weeks, these arguments have gotten about as extreme as I have ever seen on this site. We've had several posters threaten to leave the site, and, as was demonstrated just yesterday, we had one that nearly did leave it.
Arguments like this cannot keep happening. I have an immense amount of respect for everybody who posts on here, whether it be DSFF, cjs, Sean, Paul, murb, NRF, David, 83andJoe, or anybody else. The last thing I want is for one of our little community to leave us forever, and I daresay that I'm expressing the sentiments of everybody else. Simply put, these clashes between us need to stop. The question is: how?
Respect. There's your answer. Respect.
While I'm sure that we all have a deep amount of respect for each other on this forum, when we do engage in a so-called 'internet battle', respect seems to fly out the metaphorical window. Even when we're in good moods, when we're watching races, we still will throw respect out the window when talking about drivers and other people in the sport, especially names like Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and Danica Patrick. We will insult them, and occasionally some of us will even go so far as to wish they would get out of the sport. We've had Johnson and Knaus compared to the likes of mass-murderers and fanatics. That is not okay.
I ask you this: Suppose Johnson were to be killed tomorrow, and you had just wished only yesterday that he would get out of the sport forever, adding that he was to auto racing like Jim Jones was to children's drinks. Would you be eating your words now? If not, all I have to say to you is that you are a sick, sick person.
Of all the years to have respect for commenters, drivers, and everybody in general, wouldn't this be the year? We've lost so many people involved in the world of auto racing, with the shocking losses of Dick Trickle, Jason Leffler, and Allan Simonsen affecting us the most. We've seen saddening examples of just how fragile life is. You don't know which day could be your last, nor do you know that about anyone else, so why bother insulting people? Everybody only gets one life, so make the best of what you have. Don't ruin it for other people, and don't ruin it for yourself. And you know how to do that? Show some respect. Make people's days better. Have fun, while allowing and even encouraging other people to do the same. It seems that we all get caught up nowadays in this frenzied, mixed-up world, with school when you're younger, work when you're an adult, and then a retirement home when you're elderly. We often forget that life is short and precious, and it can be taken away without warning. Make the best of the time that you have left.
I see that I got side-tracked here, but I hope you all understand my point. Think before you type. Your impulse might tell you to type a nasty response to someone who said something demeaning about your favorite driver, but is that really the wise thing to do? Wouldn't it be better for all parties involved if you thought out your response a little more, figured out a nicer and more reasonable way to state your argument, and then typed it out?
I don't know whether this blog post will change anything on the forums, but I hope it will at least allow people to think differently about commenting, racing, and even about life in general. I'll leave off with a quote from a TV commercial from several years ago that I think suits this blog post very well:
'Respect. Pass it on.'
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.