Finishing touches for 2016, time to let go

Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  Normally this is where I lick my pencil and start some list of resolutions for the next 365.  Since I won’t be following through with them anyway, I might as well enjoy what’s left of 2016 – long, strange year that it’s been – and gear up for at least the next 31 beginning tomorrow.  Yes, dear readers, sometimes – as that old rhythm and blues song says – it’s just so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

It’s hard for me to let go of NASCAR’s top-tier stock car racing series for the – here we go, now: Monster Energy Cup! Last week I was commiserating – maybe lamenting would be better – with Editor Cal Bryant over something Kyle Petty said many years ago:

“You pull into a convenience or discount store, you buy a pack of smokes and a six-pack of beer – that’s your typical race fan,” Petty espoused.

I think based on his genes, the man knows a thing or two about the people who love and support stock car racing.   

I miss the old sponsors: RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Winston, Anheuser-Busch, Sears Craftsman and even 7-Eleven – thank goodness Goodyear’s still around.

Gone will be that multi-demographic brand, Sprint, nee Nextel, which became title sponsor in 2004 but decided over two years ago to give it up after assessing their business and marketing objectives.

What the sport has at its head now is an energy drink company that has shown vigor and enthusiasm in promoting other forms of motorsports, most notably supercross.  I can understand how Brian France saw the logic in this.

You’ve seen Monster Energy drinks on the grocery shelves with its black can and claw marks motif.  If the powers that be were going to just go for a sweet-tasting liquid, caffeinated beverage sponsor to appeal to the younger generation, what’s wrong with Mountain Dew!?!  Have you tasted a ‘Dew’ lately?

It’s hard for me to let go of all those close losses in 2016:  Clemson in the College Football Playoff .. the Panthers in Super Bowl-50 .. UNC in the Final Four .. Golden State in the NBA Finals .. Rhonda Rousey in Mixed Martial Arts .. Cleveland in the World Series .. heck, even Hillary Clinton and Pat McCrory!

People tell me I haven’t “suffered” with my teams long enough to feel the pain of “wait ‘til next year”.  I don’t know; this year was mighty good practice.

It’s hard for me to let go of HB2. I don’t know whom it affected more: transgender people, or the state’s economy and its reputation.

PayPal reneged on plans to expand their operations in the Piedmont. The NCAA looked elsewhere for suitable venues for college championship games. Bruce Springsteen led a whole host of artists with canceled concerts, prompting the media source The Daily Beast to ponder whether the state would ever again host a celebrity.

Less than one month after the bill passed, the Center for American Progress estimated that it had already cost the state about $86.3 million. It’s now been over 275 days since the law made it onto the books, and a sudden influx of cash seems unlikely.

Perhaps the bill’s most vociferous proponent, then-governor McCrory, lost his job when voters chose his Democratic challenger, Roy Cooper, an HB2 opponent.

With the litany of evidence that the bill was bad for the state’s economy, not to mention a small but vocal section and its citizenry, North Carolinians were left pondering what more has to happen as HB2 has become a sort of Frankenstein’s monster and simply refuses to die.  Last week, at a special session of the General Assembly, the state’s legislative body refused to budge on the issue.  It makes me wonder if this has become a case of “power over people”.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.