Or: Don’t Be “That” Guy
Note: This is part 3 in a 3 part series. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
When it comes to being a Tony Stewart fan – I am fiercely loyal. Tony could be racing my Mom (Hi Mom- Love ya!) on Mother’s day and I would still root for Tony.I wear my loyalty on my sleeve, on my car and here on my blog. If you know me, you know I am a Tony Stewart fan. Even my brother’s mother-in-law knows Tony is my driver and asked me if I had seen him on THE GLADES and asked me how on earth he ended up hanging in the tires at Infineon during the 4th of July barbecue that my brother hosted.
That being said, I also realize that while Tony is MY driver, he might not be your driver. I have always pretty much been a live and let live kind of girl. I have been to many driver appearances and as will happen in any situation where you are standing in a line for extended periods of time around others, you inevitably end up chatting. My experience as a Tony fan at Tony events have been tremendously positive and always fun. But as a Tony Stewart fan at another driver’s appearance? Not always so positive. I mean I obviously like the driver enough to stand in a line for ages- otherwise why would I be there?
Most of the time I get a look or even the more prevalent “Oh you are a Stewart fan? Sorry to hear that” reaction as they turn away. I am not talking about a little ribbing or friendly smack talking here, I am talking downright disdain. Now I feel the need to stop here for a second and tell you that I am NOT that person who goes to a different driver appearance wearing Stewart gear. People usually have to ask me because I tend to be dressed neutrally- not wearing any driver apparell at all. I am NOT the shit stirrer who will show up in my Tony Stewart gear just to get a reaction. That is just not me. However? I have been dissed by “That Guy”. I was actually at an appearance for Driver X and was given the “Oh you are a Stewart fan? Too bad,” diss from a guy decked out completely in the gear of Driver Y. Does anyone else see the irony in that?
My favorite “That Guy” run-in, and by favorite I really mean completely incredulous, happened in Vegas at a Driver X appearance. Misty was working that morning and the plan was I would hold our place in the line for the wristbands for the autograph session and she would meet me at her lunch hour which was just in time for the wristband distribution. This time “That Guy” and I strike up a conversation and it turns out he is a fan of Driver X. “That Guy” find out who my favorite driver is and proceeds to go on and on about every negative thing he has ever heard about Tony Stewart. I am standing there in this line, I am hot, kinda thirsty and I kinda have to pee and this guy is ragging on my driver. I am starting to get pissed- my hands are all balled up into fists and I am just generally tense- but I know that arguing with him is futile- so I just stand there and try to let it slide off my back like I am a turtle. I shift from foot to foot contemplating asking the lady behind me if she will hold my place if I run to the bathroom- partly just to disengage from “That Guy” but then I check my watch and realize that Misty will be here soon. Then he starts in on the “real” reason he doesn’t like Tony Stewart, which happens to be because his uncle’s brothers cousin got turned down for an autograph in the pits right before the race at some esoteric dirt track (by the time he got to this point in his Tony Stewart bashing, my eyes were glazed over and my brain had pretty much melted so exact details are fuzzy) and that Tony really should have just taken the three secondsd it would have taken to give the extended family member an autograph. “Uh huh” I say outloud while my brain is shouting “Dude- have I said anything that makes you think that you are winning points with me by dissing my driver with your anti-Tony tirade? I have heard it all before, it doesn’t surprise me, it’s not going to to change my mind, I am still a Tony fan!” Luckily for me, Misty arrived and the line started moving just in time.
But wait my readers, this story isn’t over yet. Fast forward to the next day- at the appearance for Driver x. We get to Driver X’s appearance with our wristbands on and take our place in line to wait our turn. We are chatting and trying to decide where to have dinner after the appearance when “That Guy”- the very same one from the wristband distribution the day before, appears. He apparently sought me out in the line to tell me “I saw your boy Stewart at the dirt track last night” and that I shouldn’t worry because “he appeared to be in a good mood” this time. I seriously could not believe this guy. I do not understand poeple who will go out of their way to be “That Guy” and tell you all the negative stuff they can about your favorite driver. I would NEVER do that. But the fact that this guy sought me out a second time because he figured I would be there kind of creeped me out. He wasn’t winning brownie points with me yesterday- seeking me out the next day? Just increased the yuck factor ten fold.
(Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)
Anyway- I guess the moral of this story is to not be “That Guy” because one of the best things about NASCAR is the diversity of the fans. Every driver has someone who pulls for them every week. To quote Wil Wheaton “Don’t be a dick.”
*As a side note I feel compelled to tell you that this is not an experience that is unique to being a Tony Stewart fan. I assume that there “That Guys” for every driver out there.