Riders don't like talking about death much. We know that we're at greater risk of dying on a bike than in a car, but we try not to think about it. Racers in the Isle of Man TT take this to an extreme degree, and each year some riders pay the ultimate price for their bravery on the 37.73-mile high-speed street circuit. When we do think about this, usually we focus on the racing and how the riders lost their lives. The first episode of this season's Religion of Sports focuses instead on how the race affects the people around it, from other racers to families to spectators.
Although, as the series title suggests, religion is certainly a part of the story, it also extends to how everyone involved in the TT handles the complex emotions of the event. To outsiders, it may seem disrespectful or even insane that a race with this high a body count is allowed to continue. The participants and their families, however, believe just the opposite, that it would be disrespectful to their memories to stop racing. This attitude extends beyond the event itself, and even to the priest officiating the memorial service for Dan Kneen, who became the 147th competitor to be killed in the history of the TT this past May.
Religion of Sports features a different sport every week, from Icelandic soccer to rezball and freediving. Each episode focuses on the thoughts and feelings of the people around the sport, as well as the cultural and societal impact that sports have around the world. The Isle of Man TT episode premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, November 21, at 8:00 ET/PT on the AT&T Audience network. It will highlight the stories of a few families who are very involved in the race itself and what the TT means to them.