Harvick vs. Edwards: another perspective

March, 26, 2010

I was going to leave this alone. It seemed as played out as Bret Michaels' reality TV career. But it's not. Obviously. Kevin Harvick versus Carl Edwards is a festering sore.

So let's analyze it.

Harvick says Edwards is fake, that he "can't be the nice guy, the bad guy and the bully," all at the same time.

I fully understand Harvick's feelings. He's not wrong. It is awful tough to like a guy who competes like Biff Tannen at a McFly family reunion, then climbs out of his car, grins like the Cheshire cat and pseudo-apologizes for it. Total Eddie Haskell.

The personalities are polar opposite, and flip like a switch. It's nearly impossible for most folks to comprehend how one guy can be both people. Harvick's not alone. Several folks have voiced a similar opinion.

Carl EdwardsAP Photo/Glenn SmithNo matter what Kevin Harvick says, Carl Edwards remains one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR.

Not me. I understand full well who Carl Edwards is.

Because I'm him.

And understand this: I'm not making excuses for him. So you can flush that mess down the toilet.

I just get it. I'm uber-competitive. I'd rather shut my finger in the door of a 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme than lose a beer-league softball game. Flag football? I nearly went rounds with the boys at Roush Fenway last year over some juvenile garbage mouth.

Pickup hoops? I'm Bob Knight without the sweater.

I don't even like to lose a debate about ... well ... anything.

I'm not a sore loser, per se, and I've grown up a lot in recent years. But I don't readily accept failure, either. I have a tendency to overreact in the throws of conflict.

When I'm hanging out with my buddies I'm pretty easy-going. I laugh a lot, cut up, genuinely care for the well-being of those I love -- and even most of the folks I don't.

I want the best for people. I appreciate good souls and openly recognize great talent. I don't have to like you to respect you.

But listen, when I'm posting up Dr. Such-and-Such from down at Presbyterian Hospital during noontime basketball, and he cuts my legs, that nice guy takes a vacation. I'm up in his wheelhouse like his daddy used to be.

I'm not saying it's right. In fact, it's not right. I spend a lot of time preaching that to my son now. That's not how anybody should react.

But it's what guys do. Competitors, when pushed too far, react. And it may not be pretty.

That's what Edwards does.

And for that matter, it's what Harvick does, too.

The difference is the aftermath.

Harvick says, "You gotta do what you gotta do" when he sends Joey Logano.

Edwards says, "Man, I hate that. I don't like to ruin someone else's day."

That's me. I'm not the guy enjoys leaving the gym with an unresolved conflict. After I've told the guy that's going to deliver my kid at the hospital that he couldn't guard Betty White and needs to spend some of my premium on some Speed Stick, I'm the first guy to go apologize for being an idiot.

Because of that win-at-all-costs philosophy, the kids at Narrows High School (Va.) in the early '90s hated me more than any words can describe. But once we started hanging out socially, and they saw what I'm really about, the tide shifted. Quickly.

Guess who some of my best friends are today?

I could be wrong, certainly. But I'd bet you Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards are a lot more alike than either of them realize.



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