Upon further inspection, it’s cool!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Right now, Kyle Busch is crashing his riding lawnmower into the side of his house.

It’s the second time he’s hit the house this week.

When his wife went to Sears to order a replacement she was besieged with questions from store employees about whether or not she was concerned with all of Kyle’s recent crashes.

Busch’s wife said that she was not at all concerned; a lot of guys have trouble getting around shrubbery and flowerbeds this time of the year.

Of course none of that ever happened, as far as I know.

Now if you are not a NASCAR fan then that last little exchange meant absolutely nothing to you.

In fact, if you were Curly Morris (and hopefully you’re not because I’ve been cashing your checks for quite some time now), then at this time last year, you would not have had a clue what that exchange meant either.

In May 2007 however, I know that Kyle Busch’s cars have been magnets for the walls of racetracks this season.

In fact in the last month alone Busch wrecked two cars in Texas, one in Arizona and this past weekend in Alabama, Busch managed to demolish two more vehicles.

Amazingly, Busch still sits in the eighth spot of the current NASCAR standings thanks to two top five finishes and five top 10 finishes to go along with his one victory.

The only driver who I ever really paid attention to when I was merely a casual observer of the sport, Jeff Gordon, is lighting up the circuit this season and looks poised to run away from the rest of the field heading into the chase for the cup.

Despite my recently propensity for wearing cowboy hats and my obvious inside knowledge of this season’s NASCAR series, I have not converted to &uot;redneck&uot;.

I still don’t chew tobacco, attend tractor pulls or listen to Elvis (had to get that in).

Since I was given control of the sports section in the Gates County Index, I have forced myself to become more informed about the sport which probably has the largest fan base of any professional sport in the state.

To my surprise it didn’t take long for me to begin looking forward to races just to see how the season’s storylines were developing.

I went through this same athletic evolution while living in London in the early 1990’s.

Growing up in the United States I paid about as much attention to the sport of soccer as I did the sport of Cricket.

Yes, cricket is more than just something that chirps in your yard at night, it’s actually a sport that uses a bat and a ball as part of the game.

When arrived in London I was blown away with the ferocity and enthusiasm Europeans had for the sport for which the name ‘football’ was actually coined.

After watching television broadcasts of the sport in Europe and getting exposed to commentary and camera angles that are usually reserved for our country’s big three, baseball, football and basketball, I found a new appreciation for the talent of soccer players.

By the time I returned to the United States my newfound soccer knowledge was met with perplexed faces from friends of mine who never had the luxury of watching the sport in a nation where they actually care about it.

I was giddy when the 2006 World Cup was being broadcast because I knew what countries and players to watch for during the tournament.

During the 2006 Cup I was able to make predictions and assessments of the performance of specific teams and players as well as watch the unique strategies certain nations applied when playing.

It made for a very exciting World Cup and made me feel like a much more informed sports fan.

This year I’ve found myself again staring into blank faces when I start discussing an upcoming NASCAR event to friends and family.

I like to think that my Gates County audience appreciates the continual presence of NASCAR in their local paper; I haven’t had any complaints yet.

Now if someone can figure out a way to combine Arena Football and Hockey, they might just pull one more ‘soul brother’ into their fan base.

Peace, holla back.