Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do You Remember Who Finished Third?

This past Sunday the ESPN bottom line had this to say:

Castroneves wins 500, Danica 3rd

This was the announcement that Helio Castroneves had won the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious auto races in the world. What got my attention though was ESPN feeling the need to let us know that Danica Patrick finished third in the race.

I’m not a racing fan but as a sports fan I know what the big events are and who the participants will be. I also understand what a thrill winning the biggest race of the year must be and this was Castroneves’s third time in the winner’s circle. To me, the unnecessary addition of Patrick’s placement took something away from the announcement.

The bigger question is why are they still reporting where Danica Patrick finishes in every race? She’s been on the IndyCar circuit for 5 years and has 1 win. I get why she was a big deal 5 years ago: Not many women drive in any of the professional racing leagues, be it NASCAR, IndyCar or the NHRA and she has the potential to be very good. But when does public fascination give way to reality? She’s been a member of two good racing teams and in 68 races has won 1 time.

I’m not a golf fan but I get annoyed when I hear “Angel Cabrera won the Byron Nelson Classic today. And Tiger finished 13th.” Again, I think that takes away from the winner’s time in the spotlight. But I do understand it even if I don’t like it. Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world and one of the best there’s ever been. Every time he steps onto the golf course he has a better than average chance to win the tournament.

The same can’t be said of Danica Patrick. She doesn’t win. 5 years and 68 races with good equipment and she doesn’t win. So why is ESPN reporting where she finishes if it isn’t 1st? When does the whole “we’re paying attention because she’s a woman” become “we’ll pay attention again when she starts winning”? For me the time has passed.

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