NASCAR Sweat-shirts

I was going through the BAGS of NASCAR memorabilia and clothing that the #1 fan of the #88 car brought me home from the race at California Speedway. He always spends several thousand dollars or more on NASCAR stuff at each race he attends. “It’s an investment” he says.

He does not have adult supervision at the Fontana or Las Vegas races and it usually takes me a few weeks to look at what he bought. I put this off, because it takes me a while to prepare myself emotionally for the shock. I try to do it the week before the credit card bill comes. I got to looking at what he brought me home…sweatshirts, t-shirts…die-cast cars…a Tony watch…on and on I unpack the numerous gym type bags with #21, #97 ( it was half price, I guess ) stuffed with merchandise (you have to have something to fly it home in). He leaves with one bag, and comes home or has shipped home 20 bags…I guess I can put them on Ebay or something someday.
Anyway… as I looked at all this stuff, I needed to think of something positive to balance out the feeling I had that we will never be able to retire because we will be paying this %$&# off for the rest of our lives. We will also be leaving no inheritance. I began attempting to replace my negative thoughts with appreciation for where the merchandise came from. Think of the positive.
In this life, we need the help of others to get by. No one person, nor two, nor four, nor even forty, is enough to undertake the task of producing thousands of pieces of officially licensed NASCAR merchandise. NASCAR cannot do it alone. It takes a total team effort. Indeed, in Changsha, capital of Hunan (Xinhua) they have a saying: It takes a village to stitch 20,000 NASCAR sweatshirts.
Look closely sometime at a fine, upstanding CHASE sweatshirt. Do you think one person could have brought this item into the world in isolation? Of course not. It takes the contributions of every last member of the community. They all have a job to do, whether it be sewing on the sleeves, silk-screening the red, white, blue and yellow NASCAR logo onto the chest, or checking for irregularities.
Sure, it’s hard work. But you know what? It’s well worth it to them. That sense of teamwork and collective responsibility shows in each and every sweatshirt. From the durable, double-stitch fabric to the stain-resistant cotton weave, a sweatshirt made in Changsha is well-prepared for whatever the world may throw at it, be it a tackle-football game in the park or a salsa and beer spill at the Race.
Just as the NASCAR Driver’s must work together in a restrictor plate race, the Chinese workers must all work together to protect Changsha from losing its CHASE factory to a neighboring village or Mexico. Let’s say that someone in that happy enclave of productivity falls ill with malaria and can’t meet her quota. It is up to the rest of the villagers to stand together and fill that order so that the contract doesn’t go to, say, the people of Totonicapán.
They take pride in the work they are doing. These sweatshirts are going to NASCAR fans who really appreciate well-made, great-looking team gear. Now, NASCAR fans will be the first to speak ill of a shoddily made sweatshirt to other prospective buyers. That is why, as a village, they must look after one another to ensure that everyone is pulling his or her weight. They must also make sure that fellow villagers do not get their fingers sliced off in the material cutting machine, potentially jamming the works and slowing production with a work-time injury. They are all tied to the village through pride, just as they are tied to the embroidery machines with a comfortable length of rope.
Sweatshirt-rearing, mind you, is not exclusively the job of adults. Children play a vital role in the process, as well. While some of Changsha’s villagers may only be 7 years old, they are not too young to sew in a tag or make sure that there is no rippling or cracking in the screen job. They, like the adults, must look beyond their own needs to help make these twill sweatshirts the kind we can all be proud of. Without them, fans of America’s Greatest Sport would not have a comfortable and stylish way to show their support for Dale Jr and the rest of the boys…
They don’t do this for the money, although $15 a month is certainly a generous salary. They also don’t do it for the fame, although everyone in Xinhua knows which town has the CHASE sweatshop. They do this for the Mooresville SC bank teller who wears one of the pre-shrunk Sterling Marlin sweatshirts while watching Talladega. For the L.A. tax attorney who wears one while cheering on his favorite race team from someone’s company’s skybox at California Speedway.
So you see, the village cannot function without the contributions of each individual. Without each villager, there would be no one to unload hundreds of bolts of cotton fleece to the manufacturing floor. There would be no one to operate the industrial cutting implements to shear off enough fabric to cover an XXXL torso. And there would be no one to sew, emblazon, and pack these sweatshirts so they may be sent to the hard workers of another village far away, a village called Daytona Beach FL, U.S.A.
Yes, the Chinese villager’s allegiance lies with the greatest fans in the entire world, the fans of NASCAR. Unless, of course, that long-rumored Starter jacket factory finally comes to town. They hear that they pay 30 cents an hour. Then it’s 49ers all the way…
After all, it takes a village to stitch 20,000 NASCAR sweatshirts.

WHEW!! I am am sure glad I was able to stop the negative thoughts from popping into my head.


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