America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. The home to the biggest and best sports leagues in the world (sorry you soccer fans). For those of you thinking of traveling to the states, I would highly recommend seeing a pro sports game of any sport. I think this a big part of the Guying Around culture in the USA. It all depends on the time you visit for what the best sporting event is to check out. The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA are the biggest leagues and probably what comes to most peoples minds when thinking of American sports leagues. At least these are what come to my mind. I’ve attended numerous pro sporting events in my time living in the USA, but there was one event that really sticks out to me.
I consider myself a very knowledgeable US sports fan, more knowledgeable than the casual “dood” at your local bar. Every time I watch Sports Center they cover one sporting event that has a massive following across the US, one that I really didn’t know much about. Come to think of it, I knew nothing about this sport even though its popularity has grown over the years. The sport I am talking about is NASCAR, car racing. All I knew about NASCAR was Jeff Gordon (Go 24!), Wonder Bread sponsorship’s, Ricky Bobby, Ricky Bobby’s kids Walker and Texas Ranger, Daytona 500, and Talladega, Alabama. Some of these things were from a GAO (Guying Around Oscar) movie, Talladega Nights.
At the time I was living in the southern part of the USA (Civil War losers) a few years back and always wanted to check out a NASCAR event because of the movie Talladega Nights. Talladega, Alabama is an actual place with actual NASCAR races. It was only a few hours drive from where I was living. I Guy Around so I said why not and bought two tickets for the Talladega 500 in the spring. I had a brother also living in the south that was going to meet me for the race weekend, both NASCAR rookies. We really did not know what to expect.
Each sport has its own traditions as a fan. Most of the time those traditions come down to where you watch the game as well. For example, seeing an NCAA Football game at Ole Miss will be completely different than seeing one at Penn State. Each team or school has its own traditions before, during, and after the game, unique to where you watch it. For the most part American sports events include some sort of tailgating. For those readers that are unfamiliar with tailgating, its basically having some Guy Sodas before the game in a parking lot, drinking behind your parked car. If you have a pickup truck, its when you drink on the actual tailgate, the back part of the truck bed. This is more common with American Football and Baseball games, its a big part of the culture.
I met my brother on Saturday morning of race weekend. After doing some initial research, camping out all week/weekend was a popular thing to do before the race. There is infield camping where you have a lot of RV’s parked for the week leading up to the race inside the race track. There is also free camping where we stayed which is a nice walk away from the race track. I am assuming most of my readers have either lived in the states, visited the states or seen some American TV/movies. At first glance, the people in the free campground looked like they came from every nook and cranny in Alabama and the surrounding states. Let’s just say there were some characters there, that’s a nice way to put it. Think of the movie Deliverance.
We found a nice spot to set up camp, next to some University of Alabama students who were already firing back tons of Guy Sodas. They were playing an old Guying Around favorite, Dizzy Bat. Its when you cut open one end of a whiffle ball bat, pour a 12 ounce Guy Soda in the bat, chug it, then spin around the bat 5 times afterward. After hanging out with the National Champion students, the sun went down and this is when things were about to get interesting. As I mentioned above, most sports have different traditions prior to a game and I quickly learned NASCAR is no exception.
My brother and I wanted to head to the infield of the race track because of a free concert playing. Walking through all of the different campgrounds we saw some really cool setups. People had couches with TV’s sort of like a living room, homemade bars set up serving drinks, and your typical campground. It was a big mix of styles until we got to the infield with the RV camping. We saw people set up their own beach bars, swimming pools in the beds of their trucks and even two story bars. These were the most elaborate tailgate setups I had ever seen. We made it to the concert, checked that out and decided to head back to our campground. Our journey to our campground was about to open our eyes to a big reason why Nascar is so popular.
The party was definitely heating up on our way back. I mentioned all of the elaborate tailgate setups, which transformed as the night went on. We walked by a few massive crowds of people because they turned their campsites into strip clubs. They built their own stripper poles out of pipe and duct tape. Sturdy enough to hold some brave souls that got up there and strutted their stuff. It was one of the most impressive hill billy inventions I had ever seen. People were partying non stop that day and night. The race didn’t even happen until the following day! I couldn’t even imagine what went on the nights before we got there.
The day of the race was also a big party, it just never seemed to stop. Another NASCAR insider tip is you can bring alcohol into the racetrack and you can come and go as you please. Most people will go in and watch the first 50 laps (takes a long time), go back to their campsite and re-enter for the final set of laps. Seeing actually how fast the cars go around the track gave me a new appreciation of the sport. It is not easy doing that 500 times in the heat.
As my title says, I think NASCAR is the most underrated sporting event to Guy Around at in the USA. If you ever get an opportunity to go to a race, you need to get the full experience and camp for a night or two. The party, friendly atmosphere and cast of characters that go to NASCAR races are one of a kind. If you ever travel or live in the states and want to experience something different. Go Guy Around and check out a NASCAR race. You won’t regret it.
NBA = National Basketball Association, NFL = National Football League (American Football), NHL = National Hockey League, MLB = Major League Baseball, NCAA = National Collegiate Athletic Association, NASCAR = National Association for Stock Car Racing.