Monday, April 21, 2008

A Different Kind of Monkey

Yesterday in Japan, history was made in the sports world.

Danica Patrick won an Indy car race in Montegi, Japan.

What's the big deal? She is the first woman to ever win an Indy car race.


In fact it was just 1977 (when I graduated from high school) that a woman was permitted to race an Indy car along side men. You know the drill. They aren't strong enough, they don't have the endurance, they don't have the body strength, they aren't emotionally stable, they can't endure the heat of the open cockpit vehicle. Well that monkey's off her back. Blah, blah, and blah.

And bullshit.

At just 26, Danica has set a mark that will go down as an achievement for all people. Given a fair opportunity, anyone, can be capable of anything.

In this case by better fuel management, Danica passed in the last few laps the race winning racer Helio Castroneves. Even he said after the finish, "She beat me fair and square. She managed her fuel better, and passed me. I simply didn't have the fuel to compete even though I wanted to."

So what's the big deal CC? Lets start with I have a daughter and I want her to get every opportunity she deserves. Next I've known brilliant and capable women since I was in high school that were better at something than me. To see a woman win at a sport dominated by "good old rednecks from the south" is just the type of "finger in your eye" type of situation I enjoy. Its not just the underdog winning, but its the person that the rest of the tribe of racers conspire against to prevent winning. Between Danica Patrick and Shirley Maldowney (the first woman licensed and went on to win in the male dominated sport of NHRA drag racing, shame on you for not knowing) will go down as the firsts of the sports. Someday some young woman will climb a podium or accept a trophy and point out that when she was a little girl she saw Danica win for the first time and realized she was capable of anything. ANYTHING. Now that's a legacy.

1 comment:

midway cyclist said...

I remember watching drag racing on tv as a kid - Shirley Muldowney and Don Prudhomme were equals as far as i was concerned, it was all fun to watch. Oh for the days of drag racing and bowling on tv during prime sports times...