Sunday, October 02, 2005

The “Joy” of F1-Watching

I received an email the other day from a friend of mine saying that some XYZ had won the Formula 1 Championship. And he was apparently the youngest to achieve this feat.
My mind interpreted this as: “XYZ came first among a bunch of losers participating in a boring activity that is as fun to watch as…”…never mind…I do not want to get harsh right at the beginning of this post. There is enough space further down that would give me sufficient scope to vent my ire.

I would like to congratulate the XYZ on one thing though – resilience, endurance, perseverance. The other day I was trying to count a bunch of rupee notes when this friend of mine kept distracting me by throwing in random numbers. Now, the fact that I managed to count them successfully is a test of my resilience, endurance and perseverance. And, I might as well add, a whole lot fun than the funereal caravan that goes around in the guise of F1. But would anyone be stupid enough to get hooked on to this rupee-counting exercise? You would think not…but you would be surprised to see the number of such numb-witted morons who actually enjoy this “sport”.

Ah…sport. I had resolved to not use this word in this particular post. Now that I have done this great word a huge disgrace, I might as well utilize it for a few minutes and let it slither away in compounding shame. Sport is something that involves the use of brains or physique or skill or talent or hard work or athleticism. A bunch of dumbos with helmets so big to compensate for their actual lack of brains “supposedly” circling around a road with no signals, rules, and a very high fatality rate is not a “sport”.

I’ve spoken so much without actually getting to the title. A few weeks back, thanks to Chakku & Kaushik, I was forced to watch an F-1 race at Barista. Well, not exactly watch…but more like staring at a screen saver trying to figure out something good in the whole crappy mess. There are very few things on ESPN Star that I would not see. And this ennui in the name of F-1 is definitely one. So I decided to turn my back to the screen, and try to find some joy out of this F1 race. And it actually happened!! No kidding. Here are the highlights:

Crowd goes “Whoooo…yeahhhhhh…whoooooooo…”
I turn expectantly to see an incredible manoeuvre happening. Nope. Apparently a car went over a worker’s shoe. Did you read that??? I shall repeat, APPARENTLY A GODDAMN CAR WENT OVER A POOR WORKER’S SHOE!!! And that is cause for excitement?!!

Chakku & Kaushik, “Hey…look at that!! Whoa…smooching…whoa!”
Well, I turned to catch…surprise surprise…a change in the TV channel. Some benevolent soul seemed to have switched to National Geographic. And there were 2 alligators on a deserted road trying to smooch. Wait wait…the heads of the monsters seem to be exploding, and out emerge two jokers in jumpsuits. Damn!!! It is still the race. :(

Commentator staring at a painting of a road: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.1231254545”
Commentator after 15 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12312545455”
Commentator after 20 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12312555”
Commentator after 22 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12122”
For any observer totally oblivious to the level of stupidity of an F1-fan, this would have seemed like a PlayWin/Lotto lottery number announcement session. And I would empathise with that observer. Why else would any self-respecting individual with even the barest modicum of brains get turned on by a few numbers flashing across the screen???

There were a few more highly exciting incidents during the race, but I do not want to overdo the entertainment card here. Me & Rajjo have been F1-haters since time immemorial. Or since the time F1 began to get popular. We had tried coming up with a few doubts on the entire charade. Here they are, with our honest attempts at a logical answer:

1) How do the drivers take a leak?
Ans: Till the 1950s, the term pit-stop was actually “pot-stop”. The drivers would park their cars, rush to the pot, relieve themselves, and hop back into the seat. Since this wasn’t providing the requisite amount of boredom to the viewers, they changed the rules. Drivers were asked to pee into the fuel tank. But this rule resulted in drastic results. The “oh my god oh my god 3.333” gave way to a “oh my god oh my god 3.3343433”. On further inquiry, it was found out that the drivers began to take performance enhancement drugs. And this passed on from their urine to the fuel and upped the engine’s performance. Sounds unbelievable? I agree…but so is the concept of people actually enjoying F1. Since we have proof for the latter, the former is also justified. Anyway, to prevent such malpractices that would result in cheating the public (more), the association decided to provide diapers to all the drivers. And that is how it stands…until the next loophole is found.

2) Why can’t they have a few hurdles?
Ans: Given a chance, no mature individual who prides himself on his driving skills would actually relish driving on such hassle-free roads. At the end of the day, I have more respect for the skills of my bus-driver who takes me from E-City through the nightmarish Hosur Road. This driving is a true test of perseverance, skill, endurance. Not brainless circumambulation.

3) When do the TV guys know the right time to insert ads?
Ans: Ok, let me do a bit of role-playing here. I shall pretend to be an ardent F1 fan, who is totally enamoured by the proceedings. Since the same 2 minutes of high octane excitement footage seems to be getting looped constantly, I wouldn’t like to be denied the opportunity to be glued to this for hours. So, how does the TV guy differentiate the boring (god forbid!) parts from the non-boring? I mean, don’t you get the impact? I miss 30 seconds of what has been going on…and how would I be able to cope with that!!! Never!

My views on F1, F1 drivers, and F1 fans were not meant to be insulting, demeaning, etc. The views expressed are just a manifestation of my anguish. I mean…yes…I do think that they are a whole lot of jerks. But…you know what…this disclaimer doesn’t even make sense now.
I actually meant what I wrote. Period. Sue me. :)))


At 2:25 AM, Blogger DhiOnlyOne said...

I don't know how this would be taken, or whether I would just get a retort back, but I would still try to convey my point.
The point I am trying to make is not about F1.

Disliking a sport or any thing for that matter is fine and obviously expected.
But to express it in a manner that it puts all the other people who like it as a bunch of losers is not really a right thing to do.
To dissect the sport and make a mockery of it just because one does not like it is not quite a healthy thing to do.

There are many things that different people like and get their own joys out of it.
For example, you like Rahman's music. Some people don't.
But if the people who don't like it start calling the people who do as a bunch of losers, it just wouldn't be right.
Additionally, if someone who doesn't like that music goes ahead and makes a lot of fun about it, I am sure you wouldn't like it.

Its okay to proclaim that one doesn't like something, but then, to go further and mock the whole thing is, in my opinion, not correct.

At 2:43 AM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

Ok, now are we saying that "mocking" is wrong?
Speaking of Rahman, I distinctly remember a conversation in Woody's where actually even more "mocking" was done on Rahman and his fans. :) Or for that matter stating that Dravid is not a good captain?? Isnt that mocking as well? :P Or, HR folks? hehehe
Big deal dude. I dont have a problem if others do it. I am hoping for the same. Or at the most, people can swear at me in the comments section. :D

At 3:11 AM, Blogger eV said...

Heh, back with a bang, eh?
The core issue is F1's incompatibility with your definition of a sport. Knowing you, you probably came up with that definition so as to exclude F1 from it. :)
On googling for the definition of sport, the first one I got was "an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition". As for F1: Active diversion - Yes, Competition - Yes and Physical exertion - Yes. So F1 is a sport.
P.S: Even by your definiton, one could argue that considerable amount of skill/talent is required (but I chose to provide the stronger argument)

At 3:45 AM, Anonymous the devil said...

Disclaimer: Its very wrong to argue with Chilli. Learnt this a long time ago.
Unless there are girls around. He's nice to them


Taking a larger view on things. All entertainment follow the old business adage.

If someone's buying then someone's selling.

And by the looks of things ... F1 is selling like hell....

Sport or not - you are in the minority. So play along old chap. If you are true and your heart is made of gold - your wish might come true.

Till then pot shots at the poor old sport is what you can do.

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous the devil said...

Disclaimer: Its very wrong to argue with Chilli. Learnt this a long time ago.
Unless there are girls around. He's nice to them


Taking a larger view on things. All entertainment follow the old business adage.

If someone's buying then someone's selling.

And by the looks of things ... F1 is selling like hell....

Sport or not - you are in the minority. So play along old chap. If you are true and your heart is made of gold - your wish might come true.

Till then pot shots at the poor old sport is what you can do.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger Randhir said...

Is the diapers crap true? Man, I know they take a lot of water in with the tubes that they put next to the drivers' mouth. Maybe its true. One of these days we could have Michael Schumacher advertise for Huggies. :-)

Now what if the drivers want to ....? :-)

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

That ain't the core issue. If you notice, I didn't even want to associate the word "sport" with F1. That F1 is not even worthy of being considered a quasi-sport is not even worth considering. (I could go on with nested "even worth"s) :)

Did I have a wish in that blog? Hmm...think not. I was just thinking aloud as to how sane people could actually enjoy this "thing".
>>If someone's buying then someone's selling.
And by the looks of things ... F1 is selling like hell....
True. But that is exactly my point. How is something so boring selling? Of course, if you are saying that all things that sell needn't really be quality stuff, I am totally in sync with that as well.
Or to use another analogy, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ran for a million years. So, what does it prove? :P

Maybe they could have Schumacher wear diapers made out of animal skin, and call the brand Furrari. :) But the diapers is indeed true. I have heard this piece of information from "well-placed sources". ;-)

At 9:53 PM, Blogger J said...

Why would I leave a comment when I have absolutely nothing to say?

F1 or cricket or softporn... I can see anything and pretend to look excited anyway.

PS: I think I know why I'm commenting. So that Chilli and the Devil dont end up arguing? ;)


At 4:11 AM, Anonymous the devil said...

Arguing, Shhh!!! Dont say that !! I am not arguing. I just made a comment in the passing. A passing comment.

Noone argues with Chilli. Except girls maybe. He's nice to them.

- Yes, Chilli please answer the question. You read other blogs and comment on them as well and have a public blog of your own and now you have gone and started your own private blog. Tsk Tsk , silly fellow you are.....

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Tejaswi said...

I could write the same post by replacing Formula 1 with Test Cricket, maybe changing Schumacher to some Australian bum, replacing those commentary about microseconds with the long long discussions on how many centimeters of grass there is on the ....what is it called?? the wicket? and all these days, I thought that wickets and stumps were synonyms. No No! Wickets and pitches are synonyms, and I thought that when the ball hits the ground, its called a pitch....and so on. 5 days???? whom are you kidding? A game (oops, should I say sport?) which lasts 5 days, players standing in the sun and yawning till a stray ball comes to them, new ball, old ball, who the F cares? Play with one ball goddamnit - oh, thats not possible.

Btw, does Dravid wear diapers as well? I don't see him taking breaks during all sessions? And you convinently forgot to mention that an F1 race goes on for just about 1.5 hours. Oh, but F1 drivers are so unfit that they gotta relieve themselves even more frequently right? Oh, dont bother answering, that was a rhetorical question. All F1 drivers suck, I agree. Not fit, not agile, not being able to take G forces in the range of 5, with zero hand eye co-ordination at 300 KMPH, tsk tsk, and they get paid paltry millions. They sure suck.

Every sport has its subtleties, trivia, micro-competition, history, romance, excitement, boring moments, statistics, and adrenaline moments.

Get a life dude.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

I knew I was jobless enough to write this post. But I didn't know there were other people even more jobless, and people leading a "life" that is far greater, who would actually look to defend their "sport".

You are right, I was always wondering about what I needed to do to get a life. But if in all probability it means doing stuff like taking this post so seriously, I have changed my mind.
I will not "get a life". :)

At 9:55 AM, Blogger N said...

Chilli!!! After reading Dhimant's comment, I only hope he will stop calling you-know-who "the specific community" of people as bunch of losers.

Devil - I have been doing some serious searching for your blog link and have come across a variety of blogs with that combination, before I leave a comment on someone else’s blog. What were you saying was your blog link???

At 11:47 PM, Blogger J said...

It’s 07/10/05
12.23 PM

And your blog says:
Days to go for ARR concert:02

Any explanations :-?

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous the devil said...

Sridhar Raman is busy. So he does not have time to update. Also technically, till it turns 7.00 Pm it is 2 days left

At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Amit Shah said...

Though I'm an F1 fan, I enjoyed reading your views.. funny. Nice write-up.

At 2:18 PM, Blogger DrEnzo said...

The XYZ driver is Fernando Alonso

350 Million average viewers watching Formula 1 would disagree as would the 250K+ that visit the track on race weekend. This is higher than 314 million average viewers that watch world cup matches and the maybe 50-70K that attend the biggest matches. As for your high fatality rate in F1 this is utter crap it has been 12 years since any F1 driver has been killed and 5 since a marshal was killed. So F1 is probably the safest motor sport in the world. Don’t forget Formula 1 has produced ABS traction control Saftey cells, advanced brakes and composites for road cars saving many lives on the road. If you want to see fatalities just go out onto any street in India where drivers have no idea on how to drive and have 131.2 fatalities per 10,000 motor vehicles
compared to 1.4 for Great Britain and 2.0 in the US. So driving in India is 100 times more dangerous than the UK

F1 drivers like most adults don’t need to take a piss every 90 minutes and you may have a problem with bladder control but this is not something he average F1 driver has…..

But coming from someone that lives in country with1 race track near Madras and a billion citizens you should be glad your government sees that building a new track in Hyderabad is a good idea. China Russia Turkey (17 countries that currently host races worldwide) to name a few have built tracks just for F1 but then again what do they know compared you

Maybe you should realise there is SKILL needed to drive you don’t even know how to use headlights let alone drive at 200MPH without error…….But if you don’t like F1 change the channel and if you want to fall asleep watch cricket

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

It's always nice to meet people like you. Even when I am the lowest of spirits, you guys unfailingly get me up back on track.

1) Did I even say anywhere that F1 is not a popular sport? My entire point of the article was to prove that 350 million average viewers/morons actually watch this piece of crap. And we wonder what is wrong with this world...

2) F1 is the safest motor sport? You don't say! And that's like a huge achievement for you fans? Next what? F1 is the sport with the least number of letters/numbers?

3) Thanks for substantiating my point on the "skill level". I agree that it is tough to drive on Indian roads. And doing so safely (like my bus driver) is an achievement for him. On the other hand, your drivers circling around like jerks...that ain't any achievement. Unless you want to call an achievement of tedium.

4) 90 minutes? Oh god! Are you really a true fan? Din't you know that the races go on for like 5 hours? Dude...what do you see every weekend? Or maybe you don't have a clock? Or, even more likely, you don't know how to read the time? I can understand...

5) Thanks for the tip. Yes, that's precisely what I do. Change the channel. And on the one occassion I didn't have that liberty, this post happened. Maybe you need some English lessons to get all this.

I wouldn't have replied to this normally, as all you people speak the same crazy crap. But you seemed to be checking this particular post hoping for a reply. So din't want to disappoint you. :) Go play with your toy car now.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger DrEnzo said...

The “joy” of mocking the ignorant and misinformed….

1. My point is 350 million would disagree F1 is an immensely popular and interesting sport.
2. Your point “a very high fatality rate is not a “sport” This is utter rubbish as history is showing. Safety is important maybe it is “sport” in India to see people die on the road or dodge traffic but no sports fans want to see people dying. Maybe that’s what you find entertaining?
3. You must agree then the skill of the average Indian driver is low one of the lowest in the world as fatalities are 50 times higher than the US or UK. Hence why you can’t fathom the difficulty and skill needed to race in F1 capable of 0-100 mph in 3 seconds or even drive a car that wont go over 40. You probably don’t even own a car.
4. I know how long races last between 90 and 120 minutes max far from your 5 hours you incorrectly suggest, shows how little you know, maybe purchase a new watch or sundial or just learn to learn to read a clock.
5. Change the channel and I am sure no one will lose any sleep or the 330K going to Barcelona to watch the race or the 350 million watching live, and the fact every race last year was a sell out….

“all you people speak the same crazy crap” Who are all you people is this anyone that does not agree with you??

I don’t understand why you would think F1 drivers are jerks… You say counting money or driving a bus is a form of endurance/ resilience/ perseverance …. But any F1 driver could do this menial task you could not drive 70 laps at 200MPH this is the difference.

I do not need English lessons you do (there is no word din’t in English) you do need a shovel to move the shit you are talking…. But if you want a new sport you could count your money while driving your crappy bus while dodging traffic and running over pedestrians while talking shit…… But don’t time this event because you clearly can’t read the time…

What do you consider to be a “sport” or interesting?


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