We Are Going To Miss You, Dale

We Are Going To Miss You, Dale

Even those of us not in Jr. Nation. You have been a huge part of this sport.

I am not a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan of any sort. Only a slight few times have I ever cheered for him to win a race, mainly because my other favorites had wrecked out. At the beginning of this season, Dale announced that he would be retiring from NASCAR’s top series, the Monster Energy Cup Series. He has been in NASCAR’s top series for the last 19 years.

I have been watching NASCAR since I was about 7 or 8 years old -- now I am 20. I have not seen a NASCAR season without Jr. The closest I have come was when he was hurt in the 2016 season and was out three-quarters of the season. Even then, seeing another driver in his car, it was just plain odd to me.

If I'm being honest, I don't think I want to see a season without him.

NASCAR’s season runs from mid-February to mid-November. It is a very long season when it first started this year I knew that it would be a year all about Dale, and I have been right. Every track has used, ‘See Dale’s last ride’ or something of that nature. I was at his last race at Kansas Motor Speedway, and they said it what felt like every 10 laps. But now that Championship Weekend has rolled around, it has started to hit me. Dale is not coming back. I know it has and still is hitting Jr. Nation Hard, but now it is me too.

Dale has been the most popular driver for as long as I can remember, and I sit here now and wonder, who is going to take it next year? Part of me thinks that somehow, he will earn the title next year. He has an announcing job lined up for NBC, he should be better than Jeff Gordan. But how can Jr not be on the track? Its really something that has started to just creep up on me, but I can’t stop thinking of it, how can Jr not be in NASCAR. There is even a Twitter hashtag, #Appreci88tion, it has been used all year, but just about everyone. Most of the tracks have even given Dale a going away type gift.

I remember when Dale went from the 8 to the 88. Even then, that was a huge change. You can go to any given Walmart, especially during the summer, and you have a huge chance of seeing an 8 or now an 88 tattoo. It is just how life works. But what driver are people going to tattoo on themselves now who is the most popular? When Dale changed sponsors over the years, that has been a huge change. But is him not being in the car a change that NASCAR as a sport will ever get over?

Dale Jr., in a way, is a face of NASCAR.

You can go out into any town, anywhere in the United States and start going around to the people you see and asking them what they know about Dale Earnhardt Jr. You are going to get so many correct answers out of so many people. People that have never watched a single race, seem to know exactly who he is, or at least his number. I’m sorry, but that is a feat to how big he actually is.

This is a loss I’m not sure that NASCAR will ever get over. For anyone that watched NASCAR and watched his father, they basically saw Jr. grow up. Sure, he has never won a championship like his Dad, and it seems like forever since he got his last win, but it is Jr. If I am going to be honest, a large part of me doesn’t want him to go. Some people like to say that Dale has shaped NASCAR, I would agree with these people.

My best wishes are with Dale, his wife Amy and their child they will be having next year. Dale has been successful thus far in his life, so he will still be. But I hope that maybe one day he will come back as a driver. I mean, even if it is for one race. Dale, we are going to miss you on track.

Cover Image Credit: Zach Catanzareti

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Why Football Concussion Crisis Spurs Innovation

As the concussion crisis threatens football, the game has never been safer.

In 1906 Upton Sinclair published his novel, the Jungle, describing the horrific and inhumane practices of the meat packing industry. Following his novel’s publication didn’t come a shut down of the meat industry, rather, there was a critical overhaul in regulations and practices.

This is what we are seeing in football today.

With the concussion crisis being named as the “end of football” it is important to realize that some of America’s finest minds are working to solve it.

The helmet technology of the past has been nothing more than simple padding in a hard shell. Until recently the last major upgrade in helmet technology was adjustable air bladders introduced by Riddell… in 1971. This is the year that Elon Musk was born and when communists were a larger threat to Americans than any sort of concussion.

The concussion crisis has sparked a charge in innovation for equipment manufacturers never before seen in the sport. New companies like Vicis and i1 Biometrics are creating football technologies that aim to reduce concussions in football. Vicis alone has gained millions in support in just a few years to create on of the safest helmets in football.

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Cover Image Credit: Vicis Helmets

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7 Ladies of the Olympics You Have to Know

These badass woman are ready to dominate at the Olympics this year

The 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang have begun, and there are plenty of fantastic athletes representing their country proudly, from figure skaters to bobsled competitors to curlers. Although there are plenty of incredible male athletes, there are also a huge number of incredible female athletes dominating the Olympics. Their drive, their passion, and their dedication to their sport makes them irresistible to watch and inspiring to see achieve their dreams. Here are 7 badass ladies you need to familiarize yourselves with ASAP:

1. Mirai Nagasu

Sport: Figure Skating

Mirai Nagasu has been one of my favorite figure skaters to watch, with her incredible performances and beautiful dresses, but she is more than just pretty spins on the ice. Mirai didn’t qualify for the Olympic games in 2014 but made an incredible comeback this year to land a spot on the Olympic Team. She is the first U.S woman to land a triple axel in the Olympics and helped U.S Figure Skating win Bronze in the team event.

2. Erin Jackson

Sport: Speed Skating

Erin, at just 25 years old, is the first Black woman to compete on the U.S Olympic long track skating team, after being involved in the sport for only four months prior to the Olympic Trials. She graduated from Florida State with a B.S in Materials Science, and is most likely skating her way to a gold medal! Talk about a badass woman.

3. Chloe Kim

Sport: Snowboarding

At just 17, she won a gold medal in women’s snowboarding halfpipe. She is also the first woman, at age 16, to have won consecutive gold medals at the X-Games. She is sure to win even more gold at the Olympics this year!

4. Mikaela Shiffrin

Sport: Alpine Skiing

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Shiffrin was the youngest woman, at 18 years old, to win a gold medal in alpine skiing. She is ranked number one in the world for her event and is sure to come back strong for the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

5. Evgenia Medvedeva

Sport: Figure Skating

Evgenia is a Russian Figure skater and has set a world record for the highest scoring ever in a ladies’ short program at the Olympics. She’s just 18 years old; her routines are incredible to watch, and her performances often have incredibly meaningful themes behind them. Her short program had the theme “clinical death” leading her to first place.

6. Bradie Tennel

Sport: Figure Skating

This will be Tennel's first Olympic games, after placing first at the National Championship and dominating the competition. She is known for her incredibly effortless, clean skates, and will surely do well at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

7. Maame Biney

Sport: Speed Skating

Biney was the first Black woman for the U.S short-track speed skating team at just 17 years old! She is also the second African-born athlete (born in Ghana) to represent America at the Olympic Games. Can’t wait to see her bring it in the short track skating event!

Cover Image Credit: I.e Flickr

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