When did winning become so important….and what makes a Champion?

I know people like to win, but when did it become so important to people. Like it’s the only thing that a person should do.

When I was younger, I remember being taught that you should go out there and do your best and if you win then you win.

The reason I’m wondering this is because of recent events in Nascar. For those who may not know what Nascar is, it’s basically a sport (though many don’t consider it a sport since the drivers sit in cars) where drivers race a stock version of a regular street car around a racetrack from anywhere from 90 to 200 MPH (Depending on the track)

Really I think my questioning winning being so important started back when Nascar changed their Playoff format (Called Chase For the Sprint Cup) so that basically only a driver who has won a race could compete for the Championship. Since a few drivers won multiple races in the 26 race ‘Regular Season’ a few drivers advanced because of points.

Anyway the new Playoff system has created some controversy lately from fans being unhappy that the champion may be a driver who hasn’t won a race the whole season, or at least until this point (there are two races left) to drivers seeming to be a bit too aggressive going for the race win to advance to the next round. A round equals three races, the winners of the first two races advance to the next round no matter how they finish in the next two races. This upcoming race would be the last race in the last round before they set the final four who will be eligible to compete for the championship in the final race of the season.

Now as I’ve said on Twitter, Nascar isn’t like other sports who base who can compete for their championships on wins because in Racing they get points for every race no matter where they finish whether it be first place of last place. Not to mention in Racing you get points for leading a lap or most laps led and in some series you get points for where you qualified. In Baseball, Football, Basketball, etc; you get credited with a win or a loss depending on who had the higher score. That means that no matter what you in racing there is a chance that your champion may be a driver didn’t win.

It probably has a low probability of happening, I mean in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series I believe it only happened twice and the last time which was in 2003 was one reason they (NASCAR) created the Chase For the Sprint Cup. The other was that a new series title sponsor was coming aboard in The Nextel Corporation and they wanted to have the Nextel era be a bit different from the RJ Reynolds Winston Era.

As I said this whole questioning started three weeks ago but it really had me thinking after an incident between Nascar Sprint Cup Drivers Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon last week at Texas Motor Speedway.

Brad who drivers the number 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion for Penske Racing and needed to win to advance in the championship because he’s at the bottom of the the eight who are currently eligible to advance at the end of the round, tried to get through a gap between the leader and the number 24 of Gordon.

Gordon is higher in points then Brad and would have been safe, barring any incident in the next race, to transferring into the final four.

Anyway after a little scuffle between Gordon, Brad, and crew members from both teams after the race had ended, which left Brad a little battered. Brad gave a statement where he said that he was there to win.

There were 42 other drivers, the Sprint Cup field is made up of 43 drivers, there besides him that wanted to win just like he did. but you didn’t see the lowest running car on the lead lap out there forcing their way to the front so he could win.

Now to be far I’m not a big Brad Keselowski fan so if it sounds like I’m a bit too biased against him thats why. Though for the record I’d be saying/thinking the same thing if it had been any other driver out there.

What kind of annoys me to is that Brad is also a former Champion, having won in 2012. It annoys me because even if he’s racing for the win, he’s a former champion and therefore should know when there is an appropriate time to make a move and how to act.

That brings me to another question. What makes a Champion?

Many Nascar fans have been saying recently that the champion needs to be a driver who has won this season, just like the aforementioned sports. A few have even made reference that the champion should be the driver with the most wins.

To me it doesn’t matter how many wins a champion has, I mean both the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals were wild card teams this year (which means they had fewer wins than the Division winners) yet they still got to play in the World Series. To me a Champion is a person who plays their sport well and knows how to act appropriately, and someone who mans up and admits when they did something wrong and understands why someone is mad at them. Those are qualities that Brad hasn’t seemed to show in the last three weeks, he even admitted on television three weeks ago that he didn’t understand why two other drivers (Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth) were mad at him. That’s why I don’t think Brad deserves to have been champion in 2012.

Brad’s attitude towards winning being above everything, makes me fearful that his fans especially the younger ones, will fail to learn the basic fundamentals of good sportsmanship that I and so many others have been taught and play by just because their favorite driver doesn’t follow them.

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