If all goes as hoped, former NFL QB and current FOX Sports talking head Donovan McNabb will get a taste of the racing experience. Apparently, a few people actually watch FOX Sports Live, and caught his comments regarding the athleticism of six time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
He said Johnson is “absolutely not an athlete.” Pressed further, McNabb said, “He sits in a car and drives.” Donovan, Donovan, Donovan, surely you’re smarter than that. Oh wait, you didn’t even know the overtime rules of your own sports. Check that.
If the former Eagles star follows through with Johnson’s offer, here are some things he will need:
Water- It gets hot, very hot in a race car. Have you ever paid attention to how a driver looks when he climbs out of a car after a race? He looks like he’s been digging post holes in Death Valley! One of the reasons its rumored that a racer doesn’t have to worry too much about a pee break during an event is because they sweat so much fluid out. For fluids and nutrition to work most efficiently, you will need to be in good shape.
A good night’s rest- How legendary NASCAR party hounds like Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly ever survived a race back in the day after a night of partying is beyond comprehension. Tooling around a track at triple digit speeds will flat wear you out. Think about the G-forces, what all those bumps feel like at high speeds, and handling the steering wheel just right. Even after 50 laps, the former football field general will be feeling it. When former NBAer Shaquille O’Neal decided to challenge Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his TV show, the “Big Aristotle” said he slept for two days.
Coolness under stress- Fortunately, D-Mac is an old hand with this, dodging 300 pound behemoths looking to crush him. That should serve him well. Anyone who’s experienced extreme stress knows how physically draining the need for intense mental focus can be when you need it over and over again during a period of the course of even a couple of hours. Think about: you accelerate, turn at a high rate of speed, try to maintain control, and work to come up with the right combination of accelerating and braking over several laps, all while trying to maintain or improve your lap times- and then in the course of a real race, try to pass other drivers without wrecking.
Good reflexes- Consider what you need to negotiate high speed, heavy traffic on a busy freeway. Someone in front of you makes a sudden move, and in some cases, your plans need to change immediately. One false move in a jam, and you could be singing “Hello Walls.” A wreck happens in front of you, do you drive to it to get through it? Who’s around you? For McNabb’s purposes, he won’t need it quite as much, as he’ll likely be out there alone. Johnson needs it, and so does every other driver who climbs into a race car. Over the course of a season, we learn very quickly some have a talent for dodging danger, while others aren’t as skilled.
A change of underwear- That…..needs little explanation. D-Mac may want to ask former NBA big man John Salley about his experience on Fast Cars and Superstars.
What is too easy to forget is that different sports require different skill sets. Sure, NASCAR drivers don’t run, throw balls, or push people around; in fact, you can argue that driving race car requires more skill than in-born athletic ability. Still, the notion that some couch potato can roll into a race car and still do well at it is a fool’s notion.