The Eighth Page

Coming Out of the NASCAR Closet

It all started when I was eight. My father brought me to a NASCAR race in Loudon, New Hampshire. Once at the race, I purchased my first full Jeff Gordon sweat suit. It was all red with a DUPONT emblem sitting right smack in the middle. I proudly wore it to school but my classmates made fun of me. I decided to keep my passion a secret. I recently went to Graham House with my situation and told them that I was continually wondering to myself, who do I tell that I like NASCAR? Then, with the help of a counselor, it hit me. Tell the whole school. For sixteen years of my life nobody but my family has known my secret passion for NASCAR. But now I want to tell everybody that I, Dylan Cahill, love NASCAR. My obsession further developed when my father brought me to Talladega, Alabama to witness the greatest NASCAR race on the planet. In case you are not familiar with NASCAR, Talladega is a super speedway. This means that cars go well over 190 mph while being about two to four inches from one another, thus resulting in some of the most awesome crashes ever. We had gone down to Alabama for a few days, during which we played golf and wine tasted. We began our day by with breakfast at a Cracker Barrel and enjoying grits, bacon, and eggs. We then drove about three hours behind semi-trucks, Winnebagos, and a few large pickup trucks with driver flags flying out of the windows. We found a parking spot about one mile away from the track and began our journey. I decided earlier that day that I was going to attempt to count every single tooth besides ours and I ended up only needing one hand. As we were walking into the stadium, two men on wheelchairs zoomed by us, racing and swearing at each other. It was going to be one very interesting day. We found our seats and naturally wanted some refreshments. My dad asked if I wanted to come, and I asked if he was crazy for thinking he could leave me alone. We went to the refreshment counter and watched as two dozen people purchased the “Bucket o’ Beer.” The offer on the table read something like, “Buy seven beers, get the eighth free!” Being as young and naïve as I was, witnessing the ensuing drunken state of the people around me was a shock. We left the race with about fifty laps left and started on our way home. My first Talladega trip had turned me into the NASCAR fan that I am today. Beyond my New Hampshire residence, I’m not the stereotypical NASCAR fan. I do not have a wardrobe that is all one single color, nor does every single article of clothing that I own have a drivers name on it. My car does not have a sticker with a number on the back. But, most Sundays you will see me sneak down into the common room of my dorm, do a double take and switch the television to NASCAR. And if you walk into my room, you will see a large banner with a number three and the signature of Dale Earnhardt under it. The lie that I have lived for the past sixteen years of my life has been a product of the northern discrimination of NASCAR. I grew up in a society that shielded me from this great racing sport and I don’t want our future generations to have to continue the suffering that I endured. Please, if you feel the same way as I do and are afraid to tell somebody of your love of NASCAR, do it the way I did and say it loudly: I LOVE NASCAR!