Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Of The People, By The People

Need to set this one up a bit.

This past weekend, I spent time with some fifty thousand plus of my closest, most personal friends in Fontana, California at Auto Club Speedway. Reason? NASCAR was in town.

A bit of education about NASCAR for the stock car racing neophytes out there. In the sport, there are three main series. The main one is the Sprint Cup Series. The one for trucks is the Camping World Truck Series. And the one that is one level below the Sprint Cup Series is sponsored by some other insurance provider that shall not be named.

Saturday's race was the Stater Bros 300 (Stater Bros is a grocery store chain in southern California). The race was the second one of the season for the insurance provider that shall not be named series. Among its participants were Mrs. Paul Hospenthal, better known as Danica Patrick.

As in most every other auto racing series, each NASCAR race starts with the wave of a green flag. A recent tradition in NASCAR is for the flag to be waved by someone such as the race sponsor, a celebrity or variation thereof. Saturday's race was no exception, with the green flag being waved by former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman. Ms. Whitman is presently running for governor.

For some reason known to... well, someone in her political opponents staff, Ms. Whitman's choice of outerwear was declared as a sign of her being disconnected from the populace in general and NASCAR fans in particular. Seems it's some high price designer thing. Burberry, as I recall, was the name.

Given that when I hear the term Burberry I immediately think of a chilly small edible fruit -- by the way, did you know the banana, tomato and watermelon are all considered to be berries? -- the comments meant nothing to me. It's true that at a NASCAR race the only designer jacket usually seen is one with sponsor logos embroidered on most every square inch of available space. But does it make a difference? No, not really. It's a non-issue. Her and the other candidates position on things like jobs, taxes, education, public services... those are issues. What kind of coat someone is wearing? Not so much. Except at Talladega, where if it's not a Dale Earnhardt Jr. jacket you're guaranteed to hear about it.

All of which leads to this point, it having nothing to do with politics.

The point of attending a NASCAR race isn't what you wear. It's being there, sharing in the common joy of watching the race. Superficialities don't matter. What does matter is, again, being there.

Rather like insurance, if you think about it.

What matters isn't whether an insurer has a cute ad campaign or snazzy logo. It's whether it takes care of its customers when they need he company to be there for them.

It doesn't matter what kind of jacket the person waving the green flag wears.

It's whether they wave the flag.

No comments:

Post a Comment