Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One Thing From Back In The Day I Miss

So, did you watch much of Fernando Alonso's test at IMS today? I watched a good bit and thought he did very well. It was a good start, although the real work begins in 12 days when he returns for practice and they start trying to make the car go faster. It's pretty amazing how they can pin the car to the track at 222 mph but the drivers are hanging on hard when the car's going just 5-7 mph faster.

Before I get started on waxing poetically about something from my youth, I wanted to come here and admit that I was wrong. It turns out this whole deal is way bigger than I could've possibly imagined. If the data is accurate, close to 1 million people worldwide tuned in via various social media channels to watch the coverage.

How that transfers to anything on May 29th is for another discussion, but it's just another fun element and storyline to May, and that can't be bad.

Despite being social media savvy and having an understanding of how all of it works, there are times where I am still completely fascinated by the wide reach media and social media actually has. The information about today's test just moved so quickly, from video to lap times to interviews, that anything you wanted to know was easily available and accessible.

It made me think back to when I was first starting to get interested in the Indy 500, and how I got my information then. When I went to IMS the first time, in 1979, we only lived an hour from Indy, so we got to see the wrap-up shows on the news and then got to read everything in long form the next day in the Indianapolis Star.

A year later, we moved to Central Illinois, and for the most part my only lifeline to Indy -- other than Pole Day when I was there and lines of agate in the Peoria Journal Star -- was a month-long subscription to the Star.

Not the digital edition, mind you, since that was 15 years away, but the real, actual newspaper delivered to our house on Apple Drive via US Mail. Sometimes I would get lucky and the paper would arrive a day after it was published, but usually it was 2-3 days before I got my hands on it.

Then again, that didn't matter to me. As soon as I got home I would tear the brown paper the Star was wrapped in and open it up to the sports section. Despite being "old news" it felt new to me. I may have heard a little news or saw some speeds or something, but not enough to spoil it for me. I loved reading the stories and seeing the great photography -- the Star had some amazing shooters back then -- and for a while I felt like I was back in Indiana again, living for the 500.

Of course, I still live for the 500, but it's funny to think about how 30 years ago I would wait 2-3 days for information, and how now I really can't wait 2-3 minutes. I HAVE to know, right now!

While I love the speed, it's fun to romanticize about those days, because it was through those newspapers, those words combined with my sense of imagination, that I developed the love for the 500 I have today. Back then, Indy was this mystical place that my eyes only got to see once a year, but in my imagination I was there pretty much every day. The newspaper was what brought it to life for me.

I'm sure people still do that today, but what's left to the imagination, you know? There is nothing to picture in your mind, it's all delivered to you in an instant. I love technology and everything it brings to our world, but I wouldn't trade those days of jumping off the school bus, grabbing the paper out of the mailbox and devouring it as quickly as possible for anything.

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