Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Welcome Aboard The Lewis Hamilton Bandwagon, Everyone"

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I think Formula One is far more legitimate of a racing series than NASCAR right now. I guess it always has been, except that I haven't been able to watch the races until I picked up the Speed Channel But that's all about to change (at least for a couple of weeks), thanks to Lewis Hamilton. I joined the Lewis Hamilton bandwagon weeks ago, but now that Lewis won his first race last weekend, now everybody is jumping in. And considering that the United States Grand Prix is this coming weekend, you might actually get tired of hearing about Lewis Hamilton this week. But thankfully for you sports fans, the race is not on the "ESPN Family Of Networks", so PTI and SportsCenter aren't likely to promote it much. Then again, all that means is we get more coverage of the "NBA Finals", whatever those are. (The race is on FOX, by the way. Most races are on the Speed Channel, but I guess FOX needed something to fill in the void left by NASCAR after they reorganized the TV contract. Speaking of which, I think Bill Weber's performance as the lead play-by-play for TNT last Sunday was abysmal. But on the bright side, we only have to listen to him for five more races. And at least he's not paired with Rusty Wallace.)

So, what's the big deal with Lewis Hamilton, anyway? Well, first off, he's only 22 years old. That makes me feel old. Here I am, 25 years old, and I haven't won my first Formula 3 race yet, let alone Formula One. And, obviously, the guy's fast. In his rookie year, he already has a win, he's leading the season standings, but most impressively, his worst finish is 3rd. And in terms of getting American media attention, it doesn't hurt that he's black. (Oops - I almost said "African-American". "African-British"?) That has no bearing on my fandom, but of course, that's not going to stop every major American media outlet from giving him the obligatory Tiger Woods comparison. Which, I don't like that comparison. Tiger Woods is a cliché-spewing jerk. ("Golf course looks good. My swing feels good. I like my chances.") Lewis Hamilton is a bonafide "nice guy". And, he seems genuinely happy just to be part of the sport. And thus far, he hasn't exhibited a single ounce of Tiger-style cockiness. I don't see how anyone can not like this guy. If you can't get with Lewis Hamilton, then you're a communist.

Then again...I kind of thought the same thing about Jeff Gordon when I first declared my fandom for him. Much like with Lewis, I declared a fan interest in Jeff Gordon before he won his first race. (It's my policy not to join bandwagons.) And now, I'm pretty much serving a life sentence for it. Nothing against Jeff, but come on, man - I think we're all a little tired of seeing you win all the time. Amber doesn't pay that much attention when I watch NASCAR, and even she is sick of you already. So while I still claim to be an official "Jeff Gordon fan", it's mostly for logistical purposes. These days, I would much rather see Carl Edwards or Denny Hamlin win. Hey, I have to stick with at least one of my fan interests, right?

So, I'm hoping that the same thing doesn't happen with Lewis Hamilton that happened with Jeff Gordon. In 15 years, will Lewis Hamilton be so successful and so famous that he'll become the guy we're all sick of hearing about? I hope not. But that's a chance I'm willing to take. And besides, there's no turning back now. Go, Lewis, go!

Today's random thought:

- Amber and I have been watching a lot of "The Simpsons" lately (both on DVD and in syndication). Maybe it's just me, but does almost every episode from Season 6 or 7 to the present have at least one celebrity cameo? I'm sure it's not every episode; it just seems that way. And, I could look it up, but I'm sure there are about 50 websites out there that have already done the necessary research.

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