Old Versus New - History and Memories
Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts and observations. Normally I do not offer statistics, although at times I may reference what different broadcasters, among others, have said or alluded to.
As the Christmas Holiday Season approaches, there seems to be more of an assortment of ads on television. It also appears they bring a lot of the older ads back and re-run them. Some of the channels that play a lot of the old shows seem to use commercials from the past also.
One of the ads I took note of recently was for the Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Fragrance. She was in the ad, just as beautiful as she ever was. As I was watching, all of a sudden it hit me that there are a lot of people who do not know and will never know who this lady was. That thought led to another thought. There are people out there who have no idea what real racing is and how stock car racing, especially NASCAR, got started and how it once was quite different from the way we know it today. It has changed quite a bit.
Note: As I was writing about the above Elizabeth Taylor ad, PattyKay [Lilley] put up her offering of "I Still Believe In Santa Claus" and it is a great piece about Jimmy Spencer, a racer from years past whom some may not have heard of. If you have not read it, please check it out here.
While watching another commercial that I didn't care for, I thought and felt that I would not do business with that company simply because of their style and type of commercial. Then, I thought of the possibility that the commercial was probably written by someone in their 20's so as to attract that demographic. That kind of advertising is just not for me. It was much simpler when we had fewer gadgets and less technology back in the 50's, 60's and 70's so we were more dedicated and attentive. Nowadays, we do need to go back to just caring about each race and the winner maybe, rather than letting this chase/playoff stuff consume us as much as we do. Sometimes our disappointment seems to overrule our logic and enjoyment of the sport.
One thing though, has always been the same. Money is the bottom line, but it also takes skilled marketing. Perhaps that is the real reason for the change. We talk about it often, some of us with sadness for what we feel we have lost, while some others may look at it with glee or excitement because it is more fleeting or different. I do firmly believe that our age has a lot to do with our reactions and feelings.
They say 70 is the new 50 and 90 is the new 70, as we are living longer now than past generations have. It seems each week, some of us older, longtime fans are slowly leaving and those of us who are still here seem to have an urgency to pass on an accurate account of things that happened in our lifetime as we experienced it. Our memory banks are a wealth of history and we want to pass it on to future generations.
Although we are not sure what the future of the sport holds, I still think we are fortunate to be able to watch it on television, if we so choose… and those who can attend in person are especially lucky, if they understand the sport and truly enjoy all it has to offer. Each of us will spend our dollars in the manner we choose and for so many that will be on NASCAR racing. At any rate, it costs each and every one of us financially to enjoy the sport, whether it is in higher TV subscription costs (cable, satellite, radio, etc.) or in travel and attendance costs. It is hitting all of our pocketbooks much more these days, due to the higher cost of living which continues to rise in our economy.
As you may notice in most of my articles, I use the word "we" a lot when talking about NASCAR and I call it "our" sport. That brings up the following questions. Who are we? Why is it important to us that history be recorded correctly? Let's talk about that.
Perhaps I need to say who "we" are, because so many of us use that terminology when we are talking or writing about NASCAR. We are racing fans who have been involved in one way or another with auto racing for most of our lives. For many years, we have been at local tracks watching, then sometimes migrating to the NASCAR tracks when we could. Back then, we read all we could find on the sport, watched any and all news about it on television, listened when available on the radio, and many others of us were actually participating at our local tracks. We grew up in an era where the pace of living was more slow and peaceful than it is now. We had our spare time away from work or school, and we always spent that time to enjoy life and do what we wanted to do. As we followed our particular interests, we took time to learn about them. To a lot of us, we lived through some exciting times in racing. I would say that most of us back then just followed our heart and enjoyed where it lead us. It seemed some sort of vehicles or automobiles were always involved in our destination.
One of our readers recently posted the following which struck a chord with me and I wanted to pass his remarks along in case you missed them when he contributed to one of our conversations at Roar of the Crowd - Fan Forum. Thanks, Ken.
Quote: "I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the wreck that killed Fireball Roberts. Back in the 'good old days', I didn't know or care about who the champion was. I listened to the race to see who won THAT race. Many of the good drivers ran only the races they liked or did well in. The constant playoff chatter tends to make me turn off the TV or radio and makes me now want to go to another race. I liked Junior Johnson because he ran wide open and if he didn't win, it was usually because he blew up or wrecked. I miss the risk takers of the old days. My enthusiasm is at the lowest point than it has been since I developed an interest in racing. If I were making the rules on cars, I would make the cars have to be high enough for a softball to pass under them and other rules to make them less aerodynamic. Race cars should be hard to drive and good drivers need to work for their success. Race success should not be dependent on engineers and wind tunnels." Unquote.
Many of us remember that, and that is why we are anxious to talk about "the good old days", I believe. Have you ever, when you were younger, gotten exasperated at an older person when they used that phrase? I know I did when I heard them use it. I kept thinking the things they were talking about did not sound very much fun or exciting to me. They seemed archaic and very boring. After all, I was smarter than them because I was a teenager - and I knew it all. Bet most of you felt the same way, huh? Betcha!
On another note, this past year we have lost many icons from our favorite sport. Three that come to mind immediately are Robert Yates, Bud Moore and Ted Christopher. There are others but those are some of the more well known. We mourn them all, each in our own way.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment or email me if you have thoughts to add or wish to contribute your ideas. Please keep it clean and no bashing.