An editorial comment

"I am thoroughly disgusted at some of our officials, but I am more fed up with the bloggers on the Internet accusing us of robbing the Beacon Plumbing of the win and the actions of some of the teams," said Cole, the American Boat Racing Association's race chairman. "We don't need people challenging every ruling we make. We have had way too much of that, not only at San Diego but at Seattle as well."

Cole 'disgusted' by ongoing debate over rulings >>

For the record, nobody here at HydroInsider has EVER suggested a conspiracy or that anybody robbed anyone of anything. But that leads me to a rare...


The free flow of debate and comment on this website and others make for some darn interesting reading. It's pretty entertaining sometimes to see what some goofballs have to say. OK, sometimes people cross the line. When that happens, we try to address it. But most times I ignore it because people have a right to their opinions - even if I think they're wrong.

It's really just an outgrowth of the passion some have for the sport. And, on the whole, that's a good thing.

In all walks of life, there will be the conspiracy nuts who think things are rigged. Ocassionally they're even right. Just ask the NBA fans who complained for years about games officiated by Tim Donaghy, now in jail for fixing games to pay off gambling debts.

But generally, nobody takes these folks seriously.

It's also important to note that everytime somebody does put up some whacko comment, there are dozens of people that immediately respond and shout them down. That means the vast majority of fans are shutting down the negative comments and coming to the defense of the sport. That's passion.

And if people are passionate, they're interested. If they're interested, they'll follow the sport, show up and pay money to watch, and talk to others about it.

So let them have their say. Let the fans get excited. Let them criticize, debate, analyze and discuss what happens. That's half the fun of sports! And let's make sure to keep them engaged so they show up at race sites and keep them viable.

The ABRA did the right thing by holding up the final verdict on the San Diego race for more than an hour to study the films and get the call right on gun jumpers. They deserve credit for taking the time to get it right - regardless of how long it took.

But the officials clearly missed the action in the final turn prior to the start that had a significant impact on the race. Some call should have been made. If it's not a "reviewable event" then the right action is to admit they blew it and figure out how to make it better in the future.

Even the NFL has done that recently. NFL referee Ed Hochuli blew a big call this season - one that cost San Diego a win and allowed Denver to come back to win. The fan outrage was HUGE. And appropriate.

But an amazing thing happened. Hochuli came forward and admitted he blew it. "I failed miserably," he said - even personally responding directly to fans by email . What happened? The outrage subsided. People still weren't happy with the call, but they at least felt good that somebody finally admitted they were human and that they don't get it right every single time.

In fact, my respect for the NFL officiating ranks went up because they quickly admitted the error and talked about the steps they were taking to make sure it didn't happen again.

By the way, the incident, the debate, the name calling, conspiracy theories, and the admission are all on the NFL's website. They're not afraid of it. And the stuff about the NBA ref? That's on the NBA's website, too. The big boys aren't afraid to admit the problems and let the fans have their say.

Having said all that, let me leave you with one final thought. There's been more talk and more debate about the sport this year than in past years. It's been a fascinating season for a hundred different reasons. I've had more emails, more comments, and more interaction with blog visitors this year than ever before. How is that a bad thing?

And I certainly couldn't have said it any better than Steve David.

It was a race, stuff happens, and life goes on. We didn't cure cancer, we didn't end world hunger, it was just a race and there are bigger issues to work on. Who cut off who is subjective, who saw what from what vantage point,etc. Jeff won, and he will win more in the future. He's a great driver with a bright future. The same should be said of Brian Perkins, J Michael, Jdub, etc. The race is history, we go on to 2009 and look forward to great racing, and undoubtedly post race heated discussions. Such is the nature of sports.

Steve David, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison driver
on the Live Blog

And with that, I'm done ranting. On to 2009! Let's make it the best season ever.

Paul Dughi

VIDEO: Blast from the past...

Budweiser frogs going for a ride in an Unlimited Hydroplane