Friday, December 22, 2017
Danica - An Admirable Role Model
Whatever you think about Danica Patrick and I know a lot of NASCAR fans don't like her, she will always and forever be one of my heroines. I like pushy pioneers, the ones who won't let life tell them no. Trailblazers always have to be able to take a lot of crap, shrug it off and keep going. The Suffragettes were that way, the civil rights warriors, the gay marriage proponents. They were scorned and beaten and jailed but they fought on. I realize Danica never had to worry about being beaten or jailed but scorn, oh, yes, there was plenty of scorn over her racing life. And maybe she didn't become a multiple winner but she held her own with plenty of men who were full-timers, in both IndyCar and NASCAR.
I read where Danica and Ricky are ending their relationship. Someone asked in a comment whether we thought Danica or Ricky initiated the break-up. On the one hand, I always thought Danica invested a lot more in their affair than he did. I saw her say once that she'd marry him if he asked which he obviously didn't.
I always thought of Ricky as in that group I think of as the Spoiled Boys. Young males like the Dillons, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, and, yes, in his younger years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fortunately, most of them outgrow their casual arrogance but in the early years, they take their privileged lives for granted.
(My heart always goes to the Jimmie Johnson's and Kyle Larson's, whose parents would have gladly funded their sons' rides if they had been able to afford it. Instead, their kids had to scratch and claw to reach the top rungs of NASCAR).
So I think Ricky was just along for the ride with Danica. He took the path of least resistance and it was good for him while it lasted.
I still think though that Danica was probably the one who called a halt. She is such a driven person, I can't imagine her settling for being a partner who simply trailed her man around from race to race. She'll find something more challenging for herself.
Much of the criticism of her in the beginning was about being a Go Daddy Girl who posed for sexy photos in skimpy outfits. "Oh, my," the holier-than-thou NASCAR fans sniffed, "she's using her beauty and feminine wiles to get where she's trying to go," like that wasn't acceptable.
Oh, no, so much better to be born into it. That's the proper way to get a seat in NASCAR. Inherit it.
I remember talking to two of my bosses once. One of them came home from the military and said, "I'm going to be a fireman." And, voila, he applied and he was a fireman. Another one came home from the Army and said, "I'm going to be a cop" and, voila, he applied and was a cop. Both of those were good paying jobs on which you could raise a family.
At about the same time, I was a single mother. There was no hope of being either a fireman or a police officer back then so I did what most women did, became a secretary which barely paid the bills.
It's always been so for women. They have to take a different route to get where they are going and then they have to take heat for it.
How many other girls wanted to be racers and either could't find a sponsor or another path into the sports. I suppose there are probably lots of them. And Danica helped the younger ones have more confidence in their own abilities and possibilities.
She will always be an icon in NASCAR history for the fact that she leaped over the obstacles. I hate it that she's leaving. I hope she succeeds at whatever she does next.