As much as people tend to go nuts over drone racing , I see it as a hobby, and yeah I do pride myself in winning and, not to brag, but I got a really good gloating dance.
When a sport gets as popular as drone racing does, it gets a league. It isn’t one big league, or maybe it is–comprising of smaller leagues which are engaged in by citizens of various communities. In my town, a quaint little place where even the news is two-days-old, we don’t get super competitive about the sport, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it.
Okay, so there’s drone racing as a sport–for those die-hards (the ones who break up for the sport), and then there’s drone racing as a hobby, which is for the little guys like myself. And I don’t mean that in a degrading way, it’s just that you got to distinguish yourself from those other maniacs.
On the weekends, just after getting a little work done on my book (I’m an author, or at least I hope to be someday), I usually take Rex out to the drone park. Rex is my sleek drone–the 2029 model. It’s a bit laid back, in a way, considering that the year is 2045, and even the 2046 model came out in time for the Black Friday madness.
It really wasn’t a big deal to hear the regular whirling sound of drones above your head, flying and racing—unless, of course, you’re a time traveler from the past, then I’ll tell you to welcome to the future where drone racing is the big deal; any sport that can split families into two, and cause breakups, has got to be a big deal.
I love my drone–or maybe I just say that because I cannot afford a newer model just yet–it’s got stripes and cool motion control with options for an analog stick. I use the analog stick because the MC broke about a month ago.
So, like I was saying, I always go to the drone park on the weekends. It’s a park for drones, but if I want to get all sophisticated, I’ll say think a skating rink and a mini-NASCAR racetrack combined. I usually go there and fly my drone around. Of course, I’m never the only one at the park; there are always people around, also flying their drones and practicing skills and techniques, all in a shallow dream of one day showing it off in the big drone racing leagues.
I don’t entertain those dreams, and I can’t; I know I can’t deal with that disappointment, again (a story for another time).
At the end of each month, however, I get together with a few friends, and we do some racing. Remember, just for fun. It was in one of those races that my motion control got damaged. Luckily I was able to switch quickly to analog before my drone crashed. We had another race planned, and I had a feeling it was going to be great–actually, I always get that feeling. You should try drone racing, and you’ll get the feeling.
I got out to the drone park with Rex and saw that the place was already buzzing with drones. There’s usually a large display which showed spectators the action, but we were still a little town, so we didn’t have that at the park. Instead, we used the advanced HUDs (heads-up displays) on our drone–every drone has had one since the third model. They’re semi-large screens on your control consoles which showed you the path of your drone and helped you control it without crashing into obstacles (which still happened).
The newer versions used in the big leagues are worn like goggles over the eyes, which eliminated the strain of squinting your eyes or trying to stabilize your console or having to smack it from time to time to make the backlight work again.
Most of us at the park this weekend for our little race used old models. One guy, Roger, had a heavily pimped out old model drone which used the goggle HUD, but it was an ugly Frankenstein drone made of so many different parts, so we rightly called it Frankenstein.
A long time ago, people always said ‘get off that damn video game and get some sunshine,’ well now it as ha-ha to them because drone racing was like a super awesome video game, and you could play it outdoors; all the sunshine you could get. Sometimes I tease myself that I can compete in the big leagues, even though I tell myself that it doesn’t matter, and I have the feeling that if I do get a new drone I might enter the league.
We stood on a line outside the division which separated the actual flying space from the place we could stand and control our drones. Trust me, and you don’t want to be on the other side of the division, with drones buzzing around you.
The race turned out to be exciting. It usually started when we hovered over drones to a certain height and then waited for the signal, which was a loud honk. Once that sound came we buzzed off, and our drones began to fly in a predetermined path, just like in those air races from decades ago. That didn’t mean you couldn’t branch off the path, but you’d only do that if you wanted your drone to crash into another’s, and trust me, they’d make you pay for it—I mean with money, not by breaking off your fingers, or something cruel like that.
It was ecstatic to watch your drone cross the finish line and usually prompted people to attempt an awkward spin in the air. So that was it; maybe someday I might be in the big leagues, but for now, I enjoy flying my drone and racing others with it.