Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New List Topper of Sports I Hate

I decided a long time ago that I hated golf. There are so many reasons to boycott it not the least of which being the name: Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden. There is the elitist aspect of it, you pretty much have to belong to some sort of club and pay an incredible amount of money to use the greens in the United States, then there is all the expensive equiptment necessary to buy, clubs, drivers, clothes, shoes. But the reason I hated golf the most was the enourmous waste. Golf was born in a country of green grass, and that is fine. But here in the United States we spend an incredible amount of money making dry places green so we can hit a ball around without being subjected to those "undesireables" In addition we dump a ton of chemicals onto the courses to both keep the grass green and keep the weeds out. These chemicals end up in our ground water and creeks and rivers. Golf courses had always seemed to me like a huge waste. With that amount of money, land and care we could house all our homeless and still have parkland left over. Yeah, you would have to give up your putting ways but wouldn't you feel better knowing you actually helped somebody?
But I changed my mind a little bit after reading the April 14th edition of Newsweek. It seems that some people have been thinking along the same lines as me and intend to make fairways well.. Greener.
Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. Golf courses are infamous for high use of pesticides and water. But Baltusrol is one of 516 U.S. courses (4 percent of the nation's total) that are certified by Audubon International as Audubon sanctuaries. "It takes one to three years to go through the process," says Joellen Zeh, manager of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Courses convert an average of 22 acres of turf grass into wildlife habitat along out-of-play and shoreline areas. "That's 22 acres that don't need to be watered, irrigated, fertilized or mowed on a daily or weekly basis," she says. A survey a few years ago found that 82 percent of sanctuary courses reduced their pesticide use, and when they did have to spray, 92 percent used gentler chemicals. At the same time, 99 percent of managers said playing quality was maintained or improved. ( for the complete article go to http://www.newsweek.com/id/130625)
Now that sounds good to me, at least better. So I got to thinking what sport can I turn my angst on now. Then it came to me...NASCAR!!
With all the problems we are having with global warming and fuel shortages, why is it that NASCAR is America's favorite passtime, with ticket sales surpassing baseball and football combined? Why is it when we talk about fuel efficiency we never hear about Nascar and maybe....G-d forbid toning it down a bit.
The average stock car gets between 4-6 mpg, let's assume 5 mpg per gallon for calculating purposes-- most of the races are 500 miles, there are a few that are 400 and a few that are 600, but we will again for calculating purposes say an average of 500 miles. That would be 100 gallons per car, 43 cars in each race, and 36 races per year... that gives you 154,800 gallons per year total. These numbers would only include NASCAR Sprint Cup and only fuel used during the actual race. This would not include practice, qualifying, testing, or the other levels of NASCAR -- Nationwide which was once the Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Trucks, and the many levels below that on your local short tracks. But here's the thing, they don't pay for their gas. Under Sunoco's deal with NASCAR, teams are provided free fuel at any sanctioned test, practice or race for all three top divisionsA company spokeswoman said it's impossible to determine just how much fuel is used per weekend because of fluctuations in schedules, weather and the teams' practice times each week. A typical team burns up a 55 gallon oil drum for every test, that's a lot of oil folks and right now oil is $133 per barrel (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12400801/)
side note: Fuel isn't free outside of NASCAR, and as high as the ARCA level, teams are paying for gas to get to the track and once they get there.
Many people feel that with the world feeling the crunch of fuel increases NASCAR should be thinking about ways to save, but NASCAR has no current plans to shorten races, as it did in the early 1970s when OPEC hoarded oil to increase prices, causing long lines at the pumps.
So since they are both irresponsible with their fuel usage and enviromental pollution and unwilling to join the rest of us in cutting back or even considering shortening races, this is my new most hated sport. (Plus, it's just really stupid to watch cars go around in circles-My two cents)

Sunday, May 18, 2008