A couple weeks ago I went to Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. If you’re a blogger, or want to blog about anything, you should go to Blog World. I’ve gone to it every year since it’s inception and I always attend the sports blogging track. This year it was bigger and better as it was hosted by the guys from Blogs With Balls. They brought in heavy hitters from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Deadspin.com and Yahoo! Sports. There were more sports bloggers in the audience than ever before, but that didn’t mean there were more NASCAR or motorsports bloggers. Nope, there was just me.

I have been a sports fan since I was a kid. As I always I say I’m one of the best spectators ever. My mom was responsible for instilling a love of football, baseball and basketball in me. My mom played college basketball for Boston College and my sister got a scholarship to Cal to do track, she was a heptathlete and a basketball player. So I’ve been around sports my entire life. I have a deep respect and admiration for athletes.

But there’s something that bugs me, and it would be the elitism amongst sports fans in general. People look down on NASCAR as if it’s not a real sport. It’s really irritating. It’s a feeling I get from people who don’t watch NASCAR on a regular basis like I do.

I respect them and the fact that they lose their minds over a dude throwing a ball through a hoop, so why can’t they give me the benefit of the doubt over a guy wheeling a car around a track at 180 MPH inches away from another car?

I don’t buy it and, honestly, it makes me want to be even more successful with this blog. I just want the quick assumptions about NASCAR fans to fade. I do not spend my weekends working on my car. I don’t geek out on horsepower. NASCAR fans come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. Our sport shouldn’t be pigeonholed and neither should our fans.

Ugh. Sorry, I didn’t mean to rant. And I don’t want you to think that the guys I met at Blogs With Balls were all “NASCAR?? boooo!” because they weren’t. For example, the guys I hung out with from GearUpForSports.com were super cool. I just think people need to broaden their horizons and realize there’s more to the sports world than just three sports.

And frankly, just because NASCAR has a boatload of sponsors, that doesn’t make it any easier for a NASCAR blogger to get sponsorship and advertisers on their website. Trust me. That’s actually something I was hoping to get an answer about from one of the sessions. Is there some secret word or phrase like “the blue cow jumps over the green duck at midnight” that will get a company to buy a sponsorship on my site? Apparently not.

Anywhooo… Blogs With Balls did an awesome job with the sports blogging track and I cannot wait to go back next year. To me being a blogger is about being a part of something that isn’t mainstream; it’s something you get to make up for yourself. So I love hearing other people’s experiences and opinions.

The NASCAR & Social Media panel (which wasn’t in the BWB track) that I was apart of was really cool, and fun. I love any opportunity to talk about NASCAR. Seriously, I will talk to anyone about it. I love telling people that NASCAR romance novels exist. It literally blows people’s minds. I’m not even kidding.

SO for a highlight reel of Blogs With Balls, check out the following video. I’m in it, you get to see me talking (no audio). I was asking a question during a panel about branding. I look like crap because I was sick the entire time I was in Vegas even though I really tried to will myself to not be. It didn’t work.

Valli Hilaire at Blogs With Balls 2.0 in Las Vegas (photo courtesy of Blogs With Balls/HHR)

Hey! That’s me! Two things about this photo:
1.) It was cold in the convention center and in this photo i’m wearing a hoodie that was free, provided by Carbon Poker, but it was an Extra Large, and so I was swimming in it.
2.) My fingers are freakishly long! Hello! I had no idea that’s what I looked like when I’m typing. 🙂