Over the years I've gotten to be friends with athletes who make their living in other sports. One of my favorite topics to bring up is the playoffs. When I listen to them get worked up about their postseason, I get fired up too. Inevitably, some guy will get a little too caught up, thinking his playoffs are better than mine. That's when I ask him what it's like to miss the postseason. That totally pisses him off. Every guy who's ever been to the playoffs hates the idea of not going back. In fact, most athletes I know don't even watch the playoffs on TV if they're not in them.
I have to race in our postseason no matter what. That's what's weird about the 10-race Chase for the Cup that starts Sept. 19. There will be a full field of cars in those 10 races, just like the regular season. But only a dozen guys race for the championship. It's the only postseason I know where noncontenders must compete alongside contenders.