Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Vandals Are Coming! The Vandals Are Coming!

Way back in the day, when I was in high school, every year the Principal addressed the school in a major assembly. After the usual news and notes, he would solemnly launch into a speech about the dreaded Vandals, who came down from the North of somewhere and laid waste, destruction and destitution to the school. He would talk about how horrible the vandals were and what terrible things they did.

NASCAR's media blitz over the trash-throwing at Talledaga (and Phoenix, the week before) reminds me of that time. Those of us who would never have even thought about doing something like graffiti on the walls or tearing up anything were always made to feel like we were being chastised for the few people who did the dirt and damage. The Vandals, however, were smug in knowing that no one knew who they were or they would have been singled out and punished.

Later in life, it was the office managers. Staff meetings would be held and one or two slackers would never have a clue when the boss said, "you need to look in the mirror and see if you are doing your job."

Punishing the masses for an infrigement by the few (prohibiting beer coolers has been suggested so that no one can enjoy a beer at a race because a few folks let their poor judgment get the best of them) is not the answer. A lifetime ban from buying race tickets strikes me as NASCAR's pomposity at a new height. Hey, maybe they'll put the photos of the folks not allowed to buy tickets on beer cans, so that the other fans will be able to spot them more readily.

The media and webbers are all over how the "Talladega" fans are the worst in sports. No, they are not. Again the actions of a few are being touted widely and it is mean-spirited and unfair to blame the folks who go to the race year after year for the actions of a dozen or so folks.

Probably the best way to have handled this after Phoenix was for NASCAR to keep their noses out of it and not get the print and internet media involved. That turned this whole issue into a 'dare ya' thing and there was no question in my mind (and I wasn't at Talladega--I was in Maryland) that there would be trash/beer can throwing regardless of how the race ended. Because, after all, NASCAR made sure the Vandals knew they had the power to incite.