We have a big stage in this country, but the fame it offers is short-lived.
A friend of mine, well-known for his collection of classic automobiles, won so many Best of Show titles at major Concours d’Elegance events that he was asked to remove his cars from competition and enter them in an “exhibition only” class.
And when it comes to winning – again and again -- just how genuinely excited can any rock group be while on-stage playing their 50-year old hits for the 1000th time?
This peculiar “Here today, gone tomorrow” American phenomenon is nowhere more powerful than in the world of sports.
Now, winning a fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title championship, is it time for Jimmie Johnson to leave NASCAR?
Absolutely. And he can’t do it soon enough. He should announce it at the NASCAR Awards Banquet this week in Las Vegas.
We Americans love our winners, but we soon come to hate anyone who hangs around too long, who overstays their welcome.
We’ve even placed a limit on how many times anyone can occupy the job demanding the best skills, most popularity and practiced, highly-specialized experience in this country and, arguably, the world: President of the United States.
Two times and you’re out, no matter how loved and popular the incumbent might be. The fact that this particular term limit was added to the Constitution fairly recently (within many of our lifetimes) shows that “out with the old, in with the new” remains more than a catch phrase; indeed it has become a staple of American life.
(And another fact -- that political term limits don’t allow the public to vote for whoever they feel might be the best candidate, which some argue makes for a somewhat less-than-free nation -- is rightful fodder for another posting altogether).
Johnson is about to get swept-up in America’s own “What have you done for me lately?” mentality.
It’s already a reason why, for all his amazing accomplishments, including the one this past Sunday, he is rarely mentioned as deserving to be a member of that rarefied group: the world’s greatest race car drivers.
Yep, boys, that there's nothing other than a Tucker all set-up for NASCAR racin' back in the far-away '50s!
Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Roger Penske and Carroll Shelby, Americans all, are considered among the world’s greatest drivers (and racing engineers) because they have excelled in more than one major form of motorsport.
Compared to those listed above, are Johnson’s five NASCAR titles enough for the price of his admission to best-ever club?
Apparently not. For all JJ’s success, even NASCAR’s TV announcers, who never met a driver they didn’t love, while occasionally calling NASCAR drivers as a whole “the world’s best race car drivers,” have yet to call Johnson, as far as we’ve heard, the leader of that (somewhat generic-sounding) pack.