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Old 01-09-2011, 05:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bedford, NH
Posts: 249
Cool T.V. announcer "My question is why?

Hello forum readers,

I know we all have received the weird looks from people driving by as we wait for trains to show up, have been asked by local authorities what we are doing and getting the "doing what?" look back and just scratched our own heads sometimes after a long day/trip that didn't go well but some of us have had other experiences dealing with explaining our hobby that have stuck in our minds. This is where I have decided to share my story even though it occurred some 15 years ago as it has been etched in my mind ever since hearing the comments made on t.v. and I seem to think about it on my long drives to catch trains.

The following quote came from a forum in response to an article in the New York Times talking about railfans and acquisition of BNSF by Warren Buffett and to me sums up many onlookers thoughts towards our hobby....."too bad the reporter still misunderstood some of the concepts. At the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, there's no way to describe railfanning without sounding like a dork."

My story came about when I picked up Candlepin Bowling to get away from the rigors of farming for one night a week. First off, I better explain what Candlepin Bowling is as most have that lost look when you mention that, lol. Aside from a few lanes in Florida and New York (not sure they are there today), Candlepin is confined to the New England states and the Northeast Provinces of Canada. A much more challenging form or bowling that frustrates people like golf can so I'm told. Within a few years I started competing on the local t.v. shows and while competing on the "Tournament of Champions" series I was being interviewed by the two t.v. hosts before my first match as they would tape several shows in a day having a month's worth of shows done in one day. During my interview (done many times before but never mentioned railfanning) I was asked what other hobbies I had and part my response was "photographing trains" and shortly there after the match started.

Not until I actually saw the taped show on t.v. (the bowling shows were always the #1 viewed programs at the time but production costs and the demographics of the audience eventually brought an end to all candlepin bowling shows) did I witness the tv host talking between each other and one had mentioned my following of trains and the other instantly said "My question is why?" The one host hearing the response tried to relate my following somehow to farming to tone down the sarcasm in the other announcer's voice, but I'm sure to the viewing audience as well as myself it was yet another dumbfounded reaction to being a railfan! With the large audience the show had, I can only imagine how many viewers were lost in relating to my strong interest in trains!

When I'm driving for several hours to get to certain train spots I still to this day think of hearing "My question is why? and chuckle. Well, I figured I would share this with the railfan audience as it makes no sense to try to explain this to other people as even my wife is laughing at me typing this now . Hope you enjoyed and would like to hear of your experiences beyond the normal gawking we get trackside .

Rich Clark
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