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Are Southerners Brave or Just Stupid?

By: Angela Gillaspie © February 2001

The other day, I heard a couple of non-Southerners debating safety in sports - stock car racing in particular. The main complaint I heard was, "Racing is the only sport where participants put their lives on the line when they engage in that sport. Are Southerners brave or just stupid?"

Stock car racing isn't just a Southern sport, although it originated from drivers outrunning the law in souped up junkers while carrying moonshine across state lines.

This sport is gaining popularity all over the world.

Being a proud Southern woman, I have a nodding acquaintance with stock car racing and follow it from a distance. Iíve spent time hollering for my favorite racing team from the stands at dirt tracks and I keep up with who is on the pole in NASCAR. I also follow college football, soccer, golf, baseball, and have been involved in those Southern niceties of fishing, hunting, snipe hunting, and frog-gigginí.

Given my background, I know that racing isn't the only sport where folks seemingly put their lives on the line. All sports have risks.

Take the sport of soccer, for example. Iíve coached youth soccer twice a year since 1997 and Iíve seen all kinds of dangerous activities. There have been bloody noses, bruised arms, scraped knees, and hurt feelings. And that just describes the parents!

Seriously, here is a list of sports and their inherent risks:

Now, to address the issue of Southerners being brave or stupid, I'd have to say that Southerners are in love. We have a love for speed, a love for witnessing crashes where the driver walks away, a love for watching our favorite driver take the checkered flag, a love for drinking a cold beer in the 140ļ sun at Talladega, a love for competition, and heck, a love for immortality. Love can make you do stupid and brave things, but the bottom line is that love will make you happy.

Officials go to great lengths to make participation in sports as safe as possible. Helmets, harnesses, restraints, mouth guards, cups, straps, and many other devices are used, in addition to on going research to protect the players.

No sports player has the sole intention of putting his life on the line for a moment of glory, he's just looking to compete in something he loves doing. Whether it's the need for speed, the thrill of the strike, the excitement of bringing home a 12-pointer, the satisfaction of a goal, the elation of getting a birdie, the hype for the snipe, or the pride of spearing a great big daddy frog, the participant just wants to do what he loves. And having those boisterous braggin' rights ain't so bad either.

All sports have risks, but no sport is as risky as calling a Southerner stupid.

Stay tuned for more of Southern Angel's brave tales!

Copyright © 2001-2019 Angela Gillaspie
Revised: 02/26/01 - 03/13/19
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