Detachment and Stalled Dreams.

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Confession: I’ve only been able to watch the first few F1 and MotoGP races this year through race repeats.

I found this a bit alarming, considering that for the most part of my F1- and MotoGP-loving years, I have been able to find a way to prioritize watching the races live above all else. This year though, Real Life somehow managed to wrangle itself into my priority list and usurp the importance of viewing the races live.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still updated on what is going on in the motorsport world: Nico Rosberg leading the F1 Championship? Good for him, I hope he wins it if it can’t be the Ferrari drivers. Jorge Lorenzo finally announcing his move to Ducati? Ballsy move, to say the least. The races have been interesting and there’s been plenty to discuss and dissect, so far. Twitter (@bouncebckbltrx) has been pretty much my choice of social media platform lately due to its bite-size convenience and almost-instantaneous interaction with others. Yeah, that’s my long-winded way of saying that I’ve been lazy to blog lately.

Also, this inexplicable ennui/melancholy can perhaps be partly explained by the fact that I have no sporting-related trip to plan/look forward to so far this year.

See, I really want to return to the F1 Night Race this year, but there’s this scheduling conflict I’m not sure I can resolve. Next on the wishlist is the F1 Malaysian GP and the Malaysian MotoGP, but as of this writing, I’m not sure if I can afford one, let alone both. Oh and then there’s that niggling desire to go watch a Formula E race, too.

There are so many things I want to do, so many places I want to see, and so many dreams I want to fulfill, that sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in them. Why do I keep holding on to my motorsport fantasy list? It’s not like they’re impossible. Let’s just say that I like hurdling challenges.

It’s highly frustrating to be in this strange sort of limbo but this is part and parcel of being an “adult”. A few years ago, I might have chosen to go broke and booked all three, but now the “wisdom of old age” is telling me to exercise restraint. And lo and behold, I am actually doing just that.

Writing about this is strangely therapeutic. I sometimes wonder how on earth I still have an online audience but I suppose there are those who can relate to my unusual thoughts, well that or they’re just entertained by my rants and raves. Either way, it’s cool.

So what is the point of all this?

Things change so much, but at the same time, plenty of things remain the same. I should strive to keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, it matters little whether or not I watch the races live or whether I can go to GPs this year. My love for F1 and MotoGP will for the large part remain the same, and anything else related to them that I can make come true through some good old-fashioned work and hustle will just be a wonderful bonus. They will always be in my life, just in ways that I cannot always control and predict.

But yes, I still want a Ferrari driver to win the F1 Championship and Dani Pedrosa to win the MotoGP Championship.

See, I can be selfless too.

Just putting it out there, Universe.

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I know just how you feel, Seb.

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Marquez, Motives, and This MotoGP Mess.

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I missed watching the 2015 Malaysian GP live because it was shown on the HD Sports channel I didn’t have. After the race, I went online to check the schedule for the repeat, and asked on Twitter whether I should remain unspoiled or not. Quite a lot responded that I should check the results, given that there’s been “an incident”, so I did, and to say I was gobsmacked at “Kickgate” would be an understatement.

I only got to see the incident through short video clips and gifs, and by that time, social media had already exploded with the Team Rossi vs Team Marquez war.

It’s tough because while I like and respect Valentino Rossi, I’m undeniably a bigger fan of Marc Marquez. Actually, I’m a ride or die Dani Pedrosa fan so I’m irrationally annoyed that this piece of drama vastly overshadowed his dominant win at Sepang.

There must be hundreds (maybe even thousands) of articles already published that have analyzed and over-analyzed the situation, so after watching the race repeat in full, I’m just going to put my thoughts here:

*I don’t believe that Marquez was (is?) deliberately helping Lorenzo to win the title:
Rossi made it clear to the media that Marquez wants Lorenzo to win the title during that fateful Thursday press conference. But why? Because they’re both Spaniards? If Jorge wins the title then he’ll have 1 more Championship than Marc, so shouldn’t he be preventing him from bettering his haul instead? Marc has never hidden the fact that he is a Rossi fan (even went so far as to put on record that he prefers Rossi to win the title), and with his 9 titles, Marc and Jorge still has a long way of even equalling Rossi’s. Is Marc really that petty to let past grudges (see: Argentina, Assen) dictate his on-track behavior and anger his childhood hero? Rossi’s “theories” made little to no sense, even childish for a man of his age and stature.

*It seems that the past is not the past between Rossi and Marquez…
Again, Rossi threw it out in the open that Marquez has apparently held their past on-track tussles against him and now that he’s out of the Championship fight, he might as well actively meddle in it. Let’s say that Marc may have been making it difficult for Rossi on-track and messing with his mind–what’s wrong with that? As far as I’ve seen, all of Marc’s moves on-track were legal and within the rules, and why shouldn’t he have some “fun” even if he’s not a Championship contender anymore?

*Lorenzo missed a golden chance to come off as the “bigger man” amidst all of this:
Had he only chose to say the 2 magic words–“No comment”–Jorge could have saved himself all the abuse and criticisms he got from rival fans and media alike. I don’t completely blame him for speaking out, though; that incident must have been akin to the straw breaking the camel’s back in terms of everything he endured while in the shadow (and being the teammate) of a “motorcycling god”. I felt bad though at the booing he got on the podium in Sepang, a man who worked hard for that 2nd place, whose only crime is having the audacity to challenge Rossi in the Championship. Nobody deserves that rubbish.

*Thank heavens for Dani the Diplomat:
Amidst all the ugliness, one rider’s class emerged, the one who actually won the Malaysian GP dominantly, at that. Pedrosa’s summary of the incident, the repercussions and impact on the whole sport was composed, dignified and insightful, to say the least. Coming from someone who entered the MotoGP Premier Class and immediately stirred up controversy (2006), it’s good to see how far he’d come in terms of maturity. In fact, Dani 2015 deserves a whole entire article devoted to him altogether. Stay tuned.

*Rossi has now appealed his penalty, so we might only get a “provisional Champion” in Valencia:
What a big damper on what could have been a Mega Race Weekend. It is incredibly frustrating to see someone who has built up the sport damage it in such a short amount of time. No World Championship should be won through the aid of lawyers.

*”Tainted title”? Nah.
Many fans are saying that no matter who wins the title, it’s already been tainted by this controversy. I personally do not think so, as for me, both Rossi and Lorenzo deserve to be this year’s Champion. Sure, Rossi had an infamous “moment of madness”, but if he manages to mount a supreme comeback in Valencia, then that’s that. Provided the penalty is retained and he starts at the back of the grid, though. Same goes for Lorenzo, who consistently fought to catch up with Rossi and be his strongest rival this season. If he keeps enough composure to qualify well and outrace Rossi and the rest of the field in Valencia, then he is the rightful Champion. Tainted is a state of mind, and either way, do you think Rossi or Lorenzo cares what we think after either of them wins it?

The sad thing though is that nobody completely wins and emerges unscathed from all of this. Well, maybe Dani, but then again he is not a Championship contender this year so what he gained couldn’t really be entered in the record books. What will probably be remembered by most when the 2015 season is mentioned is the ugly side of racing, which is vastly unfair to all the beautiful and positive on-track moments we’ve seen.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still watch the season-ending race in Valencia, and I’d still keep my eye out on the new developments (provided they come from reliable sources). However, a big part of me is already done with all the drama of this season, and I just cannot wait for the 2016 MotoGP season, hopefully with Dani Pedrosa winning the Championship in the end.

Because in spite of all that happened, I still believe nice guys can finish Champions.

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The Mystery of (Sporting) Love.

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Why do we love who we love? Why do we allow ourselves to be subjected to the madness and agony of one-sided, unrequited love? Is the need to vicariously put our hopes and dreams on an individual or a team brain-based, or must we always blame it on the sentimentality of our hearts?

It’s a funny thing, sporting love. Some find it instantaneously/spontaneously, while for some, it is a slow burn. It’s a mixture of both for me. Never the same love twice, and all that. Having favourites is fun. And when your favourites end up as your sporting HGs, then it gets even better. What I do have to point out though, is that it is never about popularity nor notoriety for me. I was not, and will never be, a bandwagoner. Sure, the history aspect plays a part, but it is not necessarily a dealmaker nor a dealbreaker. The sportspersons/teams/clubs I support and unashamedly profess my love for are an interesting mixture of legends, legends-in-the-making, underdogs, the criminally-underrated, and yes, even some overrated ones.

Call it what you want–the X Factor, the spark, charisma, je ne sais quoi, star quality–I personally prefer the term “magic”. Yes, that’s what I saw in them all. Magic. That’s what got me hooked. It’s not the looks or the stats or the hype. It’s that special alchemy of terrific talent and human flaws that compel me to genuinely care.  Because really, what is the point of getting emotionally-invested to the point of absurdity if they are nothing short of magical to you?

Are they worth the effort/time/trouble? Sometimes no, but more often than not, absolutely. Love is crazy, annoying, unpredictable, frustrating, exhilarating. It has the power to make you or break you. Would you have had it any other way? Hell no.

So never apologize for loving who (or what) you love in a sporting context. All feelings are valid, no matter how simple or monumental they may be. Ironically, it should not be a competition, either. How are we supposed to even accurately measure the depth, intensity, and legitimacy of one’s sporting love? Better to just accept that to each their own, no judgments.

Own it. Flaunt it. Celebrate it. And let everyone know how gloriously liberating true and sincere (sporting) love is.

Ride Or Die.

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For some reason, or strange divine machination, you found him. Or her. Or them. They had talent. And charisma. Je ne sais quois. That valuable, intangible something. And you were mesmerized, enthralled even.

You decide to support them. To profess a certain level of “love” for them. Come what may, you will be there for them, cheering, sending positive vibes from a thousand miles away and defending them from critics and naysayers.

Time passes.

What happens when your hero shows signs of weakness, of mortality?

They stopped winning after years of domination. Cheated on their partner. Left your beloved club/team. Transferred to a rival club/team you absolutely despise. Media exposed a nasty habit/vice. Still haven’t won a title despite years of trying. Said the wrong thing on social media. It could be one big thing or a thousand, smaller things that piled up.

Disappointment consumes you. Heartbreak of epic proportions. You seriously question your devotion. Maybe you should move on. Maybe you have outgrown them. Maybe it is time to live in reality. Is this what falling out of love feels like?

You stop and think. You remember why you supported them in the first place. You smile. You feel like crying. There were good and bad times. But you wouldn’t trade all those memories for anything in the world. Abandoning them because of their faults won’t make them any lesser beings. It’s all on you.

In the end, you throw all caution to the wind. Get your shit together. You are not a fairweather fan. You are better than that. Who are you to judge? You are not perfect. You know the power of empathy. You choose to love your heroes because of their weaknesses, not inspite of them.

Heroes are not meant to be flawless. Perfection is boring and overrated.

Heroes are meant to be fallible. Heroes are meant to be human.

Heroes are meant to be as real as they can be.

And somehow, even though some things may change, some things in your heart will always stay the same.

Advert of the Day: The Many Facets of Marc Marquez.

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We all know Marc Marquez is a special MotoGP rider, but who knew he could be a guitar-maker, a chef and a beer-brewer too?

I jest, of course. That’s just part of the advert. Then again, would you really be surprised if this kid can do all of the above too apart from motorcycle racing?

P.S. It weirds me out a little bit to see him drinking beer already. I can still remember the days when he wasn’t allowed to drink the champagne on the podium!