I don't normally write this way on this blog. I go for the newsy-type stuff, the occasional opinion piece, some ill-received photo posts, you know, stuff like that. It is with great infrequency that I write as myself, but this is one of those days.
Today, the IndyCar community welcomed a brand new race car factory to Speedway, IN, as Dallara broke ground on a factory that will produce the safety cells for the sport starting in 2012. It was a monumental day for the company, the city, and the sport, helping bring all three into the future.
But for us bloggers, this beautiful sunny day was not without a subsequent torrential downpour. Today we received word that the Silent Pagoda, that wonderful bastion of humor that was "only vaguely related to IndyCar", would be shut down, its proprietor Roy Hobbson posting a fond farewell to the blogosphere this morning (or, mourning, if you prefer).
The loss hit us all like a ton of bricks. To call Roy a "valued member of the community" would be a grossly inappropriate statement for two reasons: first of all, because his posts were absolutely batsh*t INSANE, and second of all, because he was far more important to us than that.
We call ourselves fans of an intensely political sport, which has seen its share of problems to that end for decades. In my lifetime, we've seen everything from this year's Twitter wars between the Briscoes and EVERYBODY to the CART-IRL split way back when I was in preschool. We've seen all sorts of controversy, from the Penske Mercedes 500I at Indy in 1994 to the Delta Wing this year. And we've seen good races, like those at Chicagoland and Road America, say farewell, while boring races, like those at Infineon and Mid-Ohio, remain on the schedule.
To Roy, a self-proclaimed IndyCar outsider, nothing was sacred. He spent the better part of three years tearing apart all of the idiocy that exists in our sport, and he created some amazing characters along the way - most notably of all himself. He turned Cameron Haven into a world-changing time-traveler, E.J. Viso into The Most Interesting Man In The World, and Scott Dixon into the subject of a mood finder. And most of that was just in the second half of this season.
We'd been keen on the possibility of losing the Pagoda for a little while now, since about the day of this year's season finale. "It's not 'in question.' It's over. (Probably.)", he tweeted to one person. But we held out hope after reading this year's Paggies, the annual awards post detailing the best of the best (and the worst) in the sport this year.
But we heard nothing else about it for a while. "Everything's up in the air right now with the Pagoda," he tweeted to me last week. "Indecision is fun!" Then came today.
Personally, I idolized Roy. Maybe it was because I'm a college-aged male, or the perfect candidate to do plenty of the stupid things described in his posts. Maybe it was because he never had anything but nice things to say to me, even as I felt my own comment contributions to his wonderful site were subpar. Maybe it was because the man could turn a post about remodeling his bathroom into a call to IndyCar fans to get over all the damn politics and pretense and get excited for this season's finale at Homestead. Maybe it was all of that and then some.
I want to reference a favorite Pagoda post here, but there are too many that I want to link to. It was consistently absolutely hilarious. And in the few instances when it wasn't, it was because it had something to say that none of us in our narrow IndyCar-based worlds would have come up with in a thousand years. Humor was the Pagoda's forte, like the Coyote chassis was A.J. Foyt's. But Foyt built engines... and the Pagoda had plenty to teach us.
So Roy, if you're reading, know that we're going to miss your wit and the Pagoda. She WAS a good site. And if you don't tag onto somebody else's site for next year, and are looking to get back in the game, give me a call - I'll buy the damn website, and all the trademarks, from IndyCar for you, and she's all yours. I mean it.