It’s Daytona 500 day and it’s exciting to see Danica Patrick become the first woman to not only take the pole position starting, but also the first woman to lead a lap. I’m a Johanna Long fan myself, but I’m always happy to root for history being made. I’m curious to see if Danica can manage to win or at least finish in the top ten.
It’s a good way for me to relax, regroup, and get ready for the week. Especially after my panic attack during the HSG.
I’ve been a quasi-NASCAR fan since nursing school. One of the few books I managed to read outside of textbooks during that time was St Dale by Sharyn McCrumb. I picked it up because McCrumb studied at Virginia Tech, and being originally from Blacksburg, it piqued my interest. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the book a lot. It’s a meditation on “secular sainthood”, or how ordinary people become cultural, almost religious icons to a secular society. McCrumb focuses on the canonization of Dale Earnhardt, and tells her story sprinkled with NASCAR trivia but loosely based on the structure of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Arthur’s a sports buff who has watched NASCAR for years, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I came to appreciate the sport for a couple of reasons other than St. Dale. For starters, I come from a large family of engineers. No matter what its origins, NASCAR today is a geek sport. There’s engine design, car design, and highly calibrated fuel strategies and tire tolerances. I appreciate these things, and have lots of family members who have explained them to me from an engineering standpoint. It’s actually pretty interesting.
I’ve discovered NASCAR is also a great sport to accompany studying. During nursing school, I’d sit on the couch with my textbook on my lap reading. I like a little noise in the background when I study, but putting on music usually backfires for me because I’ll start humming or singing along and before I know it, I’m paying more attention to the music than the studying. NASCAR has a soothing buzzing as the cars go around the track, but every once in a while I’d hear Darrell Waltrip yell “Oh, he’s in the wall!”, watch the drama unfold, and then go back to studying. It provided a perfect mental break for a few minutes, then I’d buckle back down to beta-blockers, nursing interventions, or the symptoms of Addison’s Disease.
So I’m watching the race and enjoying having a day off.
What do you do to relax?