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"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"


I am often asked what it is like to attend a Formula 1 race as opposed to watching it on television or other streaming devices. My reply is consistent with how one might answer for any sporting event. Certainly, watching at home has its comforts – no queues for food, easily accessible rest rooms, no parking issues, and no worries about inclement weather. One also has the benefit of hearing expert commentary and seeing statistics displays, replays, and close-ups. Although, one now sees people in the stands looking at their phones to catch all of that too. Of course, being there in person brings the noise and aromas, along with the special experience of sharing something happening at that moment with others who share your passion. I raise this topic, not because of my interest in F1, but because last week I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the first time. It was only a day visit, but it lived up to its promise of grandeur and inspiration in all respects. It got me thinking about other moving experiences like standing in front of a Rembrandt, listening to a symphony orchestra play Sibelius’s Finlandia, absorbing the spectacle of a Cirque du Soleil show (which we did in Las Vegas), or seeing the sunrise while looking out over the ocean. There is something about ‘being there’ that makes a big difference in how you experience the stimuli and special moments that life affords us. I’ll continue to watch documentaries about the Grand Canyon, but in the words written by Marvin Gaye 55 years ago, with a singing assist from Tammy Terrell, there “ain’t nothing like the real thing.”


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