Are Race Car Drivers Athletes?
When people hear the word athlete, the first people they probably think of are athletes like Reggie Bush, Kevin Garnett, or Sidney Crosby. The last kind of person that is probably thought of is a race car driver. Which raises the question, is a race car driver a true athlete? Much of this depends on how you would define the word athlete. According to The Merriam Webster Dictionary, athlete is defined as “a person who is trained to compete in athletics” (Merriam-Webster). This leads to the question, what should be considered athletics and what should not be considered athletics? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines athletics as “exercises and games requiring physical skill, strength, and endurance” (Merriam-Webster). While many argue that sitting in a car for three to four hours is easy, it may not be as easy as it seems. As the definition of athletics states “requiring physical skill, strength, and endurance” (Merriam-Webster), race car drivers should be considered athletes because being a race car driver does require skill, strength, and endurance not only physically, but also mentally.
One argument that is challenged often is that it does not take much skill to be a race car driver because all they do is drive a car in circles. Yes, that could be true, but there are many different scenarios that could be argued about this. Some argue that driving their own car might not take much skill, and then assume that driving a race car cannot be much harder. However, there are hundreds of racing schools all over the country that focus on becoming a race car driver. For example, the Skip Barber racing school teaches students proper racing techniques that are required to be a successful race car driver. Some techniques that are taught are heel-to-toe downshifting, drafting, and double-file race restarts. There have been many famous race car drivers who have graduated from this school including Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott, Helio...
Cited: Huneycutt, Jeff. “Offseason Racing Training-Staying Sharp.” stockcarracing.com. 2009. Source Interlink Media. Feb. 3 2009 .
Metcalf, Robert. The Successful Race Car Driver. Warrendale: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1999.
Merriam-Webster. The Merriam Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1997.
Skip Barber. 2009. Skip Barber Racing School. 03 Feb. 2009 < http://www.skipbarber.com/>
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