Editor’s Note~ Thanks to Paul K. for providing his thoughts on anticipation as we gear up for the Formula One season. We appreciate our readers offering their own Op Ed posts and I can identify with the feeling of anticipation ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Thanks Paul for offering another “Marbles” feature for F1B.
You waited tirelessly through winter. You jumped on every juicy bit of gossip you could get your hands on. You watched as the buildup came, starting with the tests in Jerez and Barcelona. You saw the changes in drivers, in teams, in statuses. You watched teams rise and fall. You talked about who would be better than the other, not just for a race, but also for an entire season.
And then it came: The roar of the engine. The squeal of the tires, burning rubber on asphalt. The red lights as they came on. The scream of machines that turned at well over 11,000 revolutions per minute. The radio chatter that either assured a driver that all was well, or informed him that something was wrong. The drama of a pass, both the ones that were well timed and well executed…and the ones that failed, with disastrous consequences.
All was right in the world again. Racing had returned. Your life had meaning once more. You lived for this moment and this moment alone. Every weekend, from March to November, your existence was made complete by the excitement of action, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Competition drove you into bouts of euphoria, similar to that of a narcotic.
And then it was over. Your psychological well being entered a slightly depressed state. You had no plans. You never believed that life existed outside your sport. For you, it meant death. You simply existed, going about your daily life as if nothing ever mattered. You wished it could go on forever, and you were saddened that it would not come to pass.
But you are not alone.
Every day, in every sport, everyone who follows in this mad chase experiences this same psychological cycle of birth, life, decline, death and rebirth. In every season, no matter what the sport, this cycle repeats itself. It does not matter if it was Formula 1, World Touring, World Endurance, IndyCar or NASCAR. It does not matter if it was racing, American football or the other version we in the US call “soccer”, skiing, baseball, basketball, hockey, track-and-field, tennis, golf…anything. We all feel it. We all experience it. We are all fans.
For some of us, however, we are fans of many sports. We do not experience the depression. We do not experience the emptiness. We do not experience letdowns. We have other things to occupy our lives. While you were wondering how you would carry on with your life, someone has scored a touchdown. While you became depressed, someone tossed a large ball through a hoop that had a net attached to it. While you were carefully watching testing in Jerez, someone used a stick to shoot a black disk-like object into a goal net.
But the anticipation is always there, no matter what the season. Anticipation will always be there, no matter what sport we love, even if it’s more than one sport. Anticipation fuels our lives and gives our existence meaning.
Anticipation is inside all of us. Anticipation is universal.