Is it safe to assume that everyone knows Danica Patrick won the pole for this Sunday's Daytona 500?
Regardless of how you feel about Patrick, this is some pretty big news. Anytime that something happens for the first time, it deserves coverage and attention. Patrick sitting on the pole at Daytona is historic; no female has ever accomplished that before.
But with the increased media coverage of Patrick comes her detractors, banging their drums even louder.
Those who criticize Patrick have various things to say about what they think she is. One of the most common descriptors thrown her way is "overrated."
Patrick is many things, but she is nowhere close to being overrated.
Patrick is a very attractive athlete. Aside from being a NASCAR driver, she is also known for her GoDaddy.com commercials. If you have viewed any of these commercials, you know first hand that they use her beauty and sex appeal primarily as a way to get their message across. Because of these ads, Patrick is recognized and known by people outside of the world of NASCAR.
Patrick is a female competing in a predominantly male sport. It may not be viewed as acceptable by some that she gets the attention she does because of her gender, but that's how it is. When a female attempts to enter a world ruled by men, it creates headlines.
Yet Patrick is not the only female that is in the news for playing with the boys. An article on NFL.com tells the story of Lauren Silberman and her quest to kick for an NFL team. A woman in a normally male dominated sport is considered to be an underdog. Everyone loves a good underdog story.
The above mentioned attributes make up the one trait that best describes Patrick—over-publicized. Right or wrong, Patrick receives tons of press. The result of this press leads to some pundits tossing around that overrated tag.
How many races will Patrick win this season?
There is no way that anyone could honestly consider her to be overrated. Patrick has accomplished nothing in the sport of NASCAR. In fact, her accomplishments in the world of auto racing are minimal at best. Between NASCAR and IndyCar she has ran 183 races, recording only one win. In those 183 races, she has 14 top-ten finishes and five poles.
It is hard to label someone overrated when realistically they have yet to show they are capable of success.
Aside from Patrick's lack of success on the track, many fans critique her skills. This fan message board shows multiple examples of how fans generally feel Patrick lacks the skills needed to succeed in racing.
Despite all of this, people still refer to her as overrated. If you think a driver lacks talent and will not win, then it makes little sense to call that driver overrated when they crash or come up short.
When it is all said and done, Patrick is nothing more than a victim of over-publicity. All of her triumphs and failures receive screen time and attention.
As a female athlete, she is marketable, and that is something NASCAR is going to cash in on. As an underdog, she is inspirational, and that is something a journalist is going to take advantage of.
As a racing fan it is okay to step back and say that you have had enough of the Patrick stories. It s okay to admit that she is in the news too much.
It is not okay to accuse of her being something that she is clearly not.