Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a huge sports fan, and gets as passionate about his favorite teams as many Junior Nation fans get about him.
So perhaps Earnhardt Jr. can relate a bit more to the level of emotion involved in watching a team participate in the playoffs from the fan perspective.
"I don't know if you enjoy one over the other," said Earnhardt Jr., a diehard Washington Redskins fan. "For example, if I watched the Redskins lose a playoff game, it would probably be as upsetting and disappointing as seeing my opportunities slip away throughout the Chase, should that happen."
But being in the playoffs as an athlete and watching them as a fan with no control over what happens feels "completely different," he said.
"There's a certain level of pressure you put on yourself being involved in it," he said. The biggest difference, he added, is that as a participant, "You're doing the work."
"You and your team are putting in the grind and going over the notes," he said. "From the moment you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed, you're thinking of how you can be better all the time."
To put it another way, being an actual participant in the playoffs is like, "Beating your head against the wall for every second you're awake until it's over," he said.