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Clinton, S.C., Thursday, January 16, 2014, 8:31 a.m.
NASCAR these days is just a whirling dervish, which naturally leads to the question, “What is a dervish?”
I mean, besides something that whirls.
The whirling dance, or Sufi whirling, that is proverbially associated with Dervishes is best known in the West by the practices (performances) of the Mevlevi order in Turkey, and is part of a formal ceremony known as the Serna.
What of the Dervish?
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path …
Ah. Like Scott Speed.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish had an exceptional season pitching for the Texas Rangers, but that’s not important. Nor is it that I know a country singer named Andy Serna.
Dervish 6.0: NASCAR Edition involves constantly changing everything. Have a Chase, change a Chase, label it “New and Improved!” just like a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Car of Tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Free pass on the lead lap? Ah, let’s wave a heap of them around. Bonus points. Talking points. Points as they run. Point Break. Swimming pools. Movie stars. Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shooting at some food. Up through the ground come a-bubblin’ crude. Oil, that is. Texas tea.
Then, once Jed Clampett found all that oil, Big Bill France figured out what to do with it. Only Slightly Less Big Bill France built an empire, and along came Brian Zoroaster France (okay, it’s Zachary) to decide he was going to run football out of business.
France Jung Un.
What is NASCAR’s biggest problem? It went out of style. I had a history professor decades ago who was fond of using that phrase: “So, in Alabama, they started buying up those plots of land like they were going out of style!” Meanwhile, I sat scribbling in a notebook and thinking, If they’re going out of style, that is not going to be a wise investment.
NASCAR, however, agreed with Dr. Sanders.
Watch us! Watch us! We’re already the fastest growing sport in America! Next we take over the world!
For a while, people flocked to the tracks, anxious to see what the big deal was. Then there came a time – one that’s inevitable when dealing with those flocking to what has lately been deemed cool – when the newbies all decided NASCAR was sooooo last year.
Then there were the longtime fans, tried and true, who had loved NASCAR the way it was, or had been. They got grumpy and still are.
The best way to rebuild is to be patient. Reassure the base and regain their enthusiasm.
But that is not Zoroaster’s way. To reconfigure a baseball slogan, it’s “Tinker forever to France.”
Welcome, initiates! You have arrived at The Golden Liquor: A Beginner’s Guide to Beer. We know you have some questions. We’re here to answer them. Because you could be enjoying it so much more than you already are. Or start enjoying it if you’re someone who was...