Monday, October 24, 2011

Ciao #58

I've been curiously finding myself scouring the internet to read more on MotoGP's Marco Simoncelli's tragic accident during the course of previous weekend race at Sepang. For the uninitiated, Marco, racing on the #58 Gresini Honda made an error early on in the race and peculiarly slid across the track at a turn; Colin Edwards and all time great, fellow compatriot and close friend Valentino Rossi trailing, ran over him: the outcome was immediately apparent, there was nothing they could do.

I've never been one to glorify famous personality tragedies but for some reason this one hit a nerve. I was following it play by play and when it happened everybody following it just seemed to stop, in shock, waiting for a sign that he was going to be okay which deep inside everybody knew was not coming.

I'm a casual fan of MotoGP (though i ride and love bikes) so i didnt really have a strong attachment. But i found the whole thing gripping and compelling for some reason and following the news and responses the outpouring of fans and followers seemed genuinely sincere and heartfelt. I didn't really make the connection until i saw an ad on RTM for Nujum Pak Belalang...

Marco was a hero. I mean, he's not my personal hero (P Ramlee is by the way) but he's somebody else's hero and it must've been heart wrenching to see him went out like that. I mean, motorcycling is dangerous as it is (famously quoted by Ernest Hemingway as the only true sport besides montaineering and bullfighting, the others being just games) so participant and spectator are aware of the risk. And Marco, while a polarizing figure on the track due to his reckless racing style, was well loved off it, a combination of his larger than life stature and (hair)style, approachable star and well humored interviewee. It couldnt have happened to a nicer guy, basically.

But the reason i'm even posting this is because i'm reminded of why we have our heroes, in particular in sports (mine is Chicago Bull's Michael Jordan), because unlike movie or music stars these guys are real supermen, doing things that you dreamt of doing growing up playing, on the field or court or track. And its disheartening to see them succumb to physical situations. We had Mokhtar Dahari. I cringe everytime i see Muhammad Ali in his current condition. At least Senna had hit his prime.

If i was a casual MotoGP follower before, i am fan now. Thanks to the love shown by SuperSIC fans all over the world. Y'all saw the him for the star that he was even before he got a podium finish in MotoGP, i will be lucky to find the next guy with even half the charisma, rest easy #58.
Great tribute piece by Autosport's Toby Moody, here:

http://plus.autosport.com/free/feature/3972/toby-moody-remembers-marco-simoncelli/

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