I, an internet NASCAR person, went to a minor-league hockey game recently. Hockey is not my thing, I can’t name a single player, I don’t know the home team’s record … I just went to hang out with friends and watch dudes knock a puck around while I had some beers.
Throughout the game, the stadium announcer talked about implications of happenings on the ice, strategies and references that I assume only avid hockey fans would know, players and their nicknames—hockey stuff! I didn’t really know any of it, but when the announcer’s voice went up in pitch and tone, the fans got excited.
Lots of “internet NASCAR fans” (myself included sometimes!) often do not seem to remember that there are more people who are just tuned in for the experience and maybe to follow some storylines than there are super-engaged fans. It’s discouraging to see really smart and passionate people online act bitter toward casual fans who just want to watch some cars race in a circle. It’s not fair to dismiss those fans’ opinions; after all, they’re buying tickets and merch and tuning in, too, even if NASCAR is not central to their everyday comings and goings like it is for us.
Sometimes you’re just the guy at the minor-league hockey game having some beers!