Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Very Short Thought on Tony Stewart

As a boy and a young man, I had a wicked temper. When I was mad or upset, I became completely
irrational and knew that, in my blind rage, it was very possible that I could hurt someone.

That said, I was always a fan of highly competitive and temperamental athletes, e.g. John McEnroe, Charles Barkley, Bobby Knight, etc. I knew that if I were in their situations, I'd be known for throwing the exact sort of conniptions for which they became famous.

Like those athletes, I mellowed with age. I made a conscientious effort to try to not let myself get too worked up.

Breathe deep. Relax. Think of puppies.

Which brings me to the tragic incident of Tony Stewart and the death of fellow racer 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. Like other famously temperamental athletes, if I watched a NASCAR race, I'd root for Stewart. However, this time he went too far. He did not stay in control of raw emotion. He may never be charged, and clearly Ward Jr. should have never left his vehicle and taunted Stewart, but I believe this was an incident that could have been avoided had Stewart kept his anger in check.

I don't think he intended to hit Ward Jr., but it appeared that he tried to throw him the racer's version of a brushback pitch. Rather than drive low and steer clear, he passed near Ward Jr. and accelerated. It's the acceleration that tells me this was rage-flash moment.

I'm not certain how all of this will play out--it's too early to tell, but I definitely can say that I'll never root for Stewart again. If he doesn't land behind bars, at the very least, he should get some help.

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