Tourist With a Typewriter

Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Tag: Sports

The Receding Passion of the NASCAR Fan

Published in C-VILLE Weekly 4/14/09

NASCAR14“Some fans are completely uninhibited, they’ll do whatever the hell they want to have a good time,” Rusty Speidel says over the phone. “They get geared up, they tailgate their brains out, they take the extra time out to travel.” Speidel should know. He’s one of the guys behind Rowdy.com, a NASCAR fan site based in Charlottesville. “They’re really loyal to their driver, to the point where I saw a guy and his wife the other day, they had both shaved their heads except for the [number] 88 in the back.”

Eighty-eight is Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s number, and Earnhardt, Jr. is a driver in the National Association for Stock Car Racing. That’s NASCAR, baby, our other national pastime. This is car country, gas and metal and engine-hum country, a nation carved from pavement by men and machines. We’re drunk on fuel and in love with chrome. We drive cars to watch cars drive. Read the rest of this entry »

Lords of the Ring

Saturday night fighting in Fluvanna

Published in C-VILLE, 3/10/2009.

To knock a man out takes a combination of strength, precision and luck. You have to hit him in the right place, and if you do he’ll go down, no matter who he is. Getting knocked out doesn’t hurt. “It’s a good feeling, actually,” boxing great Floyd Patterson once said. “It’s not painful, just a sharp grogginess.” Patterson was 28 when Sonny Liston beat him senseless a second time, ending his career. George Rivera is 30, and the one time he was knocked out (a lucky blow from an opponent he was whipping easily), it didn’t hurt at the time. “It hurt after, your pride and all that,” he says. Read the rest of the story.

To Serve With Love

Trying to rise in the ranks of worldwide tennis, dozens of professional athletes, including Carly Gullickson, descend on Boar’s Head

My coverage of the 2009 Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic tennis tournament, where I spent a week shadowing one player.

Out on the clay courts of the Boar’s Head Inn, a smoky-eyed Indian woman built like a model grunts loudly and slams the ball over the net. Boom! WaaUNGH! Boom! The 90-degree air is thick with pollen, and this player, one of 58 athletes that arrived in town last week for Boyd Tinsley’s invitational tennis tournament, stops between shots and doubles over. She pulls in great, shrieking breaths and lets long ropes of spit drop from her mouth. Then she straightens up, bouncing back and forth on the balls of her feet before letting loose with another monster serve. Boom! WaaaUNGH! On another court, a player is stretched out on the ground under an umbrella. Ice packs on her head, she’s being force-fed liquids. After a while she gets up and goes through the motions of finishing her match. She walks off looking like she just survived an eight-car pile-up. Read the rest of the story.

(Anything But) Far From The Madras Crowd

Description of day at Foxfield, the local steeplechase race that’s become a Charlottesville tradition, famous for excess in both fashion and alcohol. Published in the spring of 2006, this was my second piece for C-VILLE, and my third piece of published journalism .

As I sit in a line of traffic that seems almost Soviet in its length and sense of hopelessness, it occurs to me that the phrase “Jockey Shorts” is basically redundant. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve Got a Headache THIS BIG, and It’s Got Grave Digger Written All Over It

Or, everything you always wanted to know about Monster Trucks, but were afraid to ask

C-VILLE Cover story for the week of 3/21/07:

“Caution,” read the neon green, perfectly painted, shiny letters on the back of the truck, “Inside lurks an alcohol drinking, fire breathing, ass kicking Monster!” A Monster Truck that is, standing 11′ and 10″ high and weighing 10,000 pounds, with 5′ and 6″ tall tires, the kind usually used by fertilizer spreaders, each tire weighing about 800 pounds and costing $17,000. The total package costs anywhere from $150,000 to $225,000, and with tickets to tonight’s United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) Monster Jam set at a low, low price of $5 to $20, this two-night stand at the John Paul Jones Arena is one of the best-selling stops on the tour.

Read more.

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