I had three reactions to Asif Kapadia‘s Senna, an absorbing, somewhat affecting doc about the late Ayrton Senna, the legendary Brazilian race-car driver and Formula One champion who was killed during a race in 1994 at the age of 34. They were (a) “well-made film, stirring story,” (b) “Senna’s death was very sad” and (c) “shit will sometimes happen when you drive at exceptionally high speeds in the pursuit of beating others to the finish line.”

I realize Senna is regarded as perhaps the finest driver who ever lived, and that he was religiously adored in Brazil and by racing fans the world over, and that his death (due to a mechanical malfunction in the race-car he was driving) was tragic. But a race-car driver who dies in a pile-up is like a mountain climber who falls into a crevasse or a combat soldier who catches an enemy bullet or a wild-animal tamer who gets clawed to death by a lion.

Honestly? The film, which showed at 11 am today at South by Southwest, left me with sincere admiration for Senna’s passion and determination, but not much in the way of awe or affection. He was a hard-core athlete and very competitive and technically savvy, but he was also a bit of a hot dog and a guy who banged into other race-cars a lot. He often spoke about God helping him with his driving and steering him to victory — a common enough feeling that’s analogous to musicians talking about being “in the groove,” but a bit weird all the same. Plus he came from a fairly rich family and was apparently a major babe hound who never got married or even spoke about having kids. A very interesting fellow, no doubt, but that’s about it…sorry.

You want a really tragic sports figure? Consider the tale of Columbian soccer player Andres Escobar, whose story is quite movingly told in Jeff and Michael Zimbalist‘s The Two Escobars. Now, that‘s a sad story plus one that looks beyond the perimeters of the sport realm.