Charlotte recently hosted a “world-class” sports event – The Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club. The PGA Tour event had high sports drama with the world’s top golfers in competition. This event was incredibly well organized by the leaders of the Charlotte business community led by Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson and enthusiastically supported by the citizens of the area.
The PGA left town and the NASCAR folks moved in. Charlotte’s premier sports showcase continues to be stock car racing with The Nextel Challenge and The Coca Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend. “Speedweek” takes over downtown (“Uptown”) Charlotte with two weeks of festivities well designed and choreographed by the Charlotte business community led by Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler of Speedway Motorsports.
Add in The Continental Tire Meineke Muffler AC Delco Raybestos Brake Bowl in December which is also incredibly well-run by Charlotteans and held in a beautiful stadium with excellent ingress and egress.
Charlotte has become a major “player” in the big event hosting business. Yes, they erred 15 years ago with that scallywag, George Shinn; but successful people learn from such mistakes. The current “city fathers” of Charlotte are top-drawer visionaries with “can do & get it done” attitudes.
Meanwhile the leaders of “The Triangle” bemoan the loss of the CIAA Basketball Tournament to Charlotte deluding themselves that the dynamics of the two areas are anywhere near comparable. They are not, nor are they ever likely to be, nor do they need to be.
Charlotte is one metropolitan entity. “The Triangle” is a regional “Tower of Babel”. Raleigh cannot be compared with Charlotte without counting the populations and civic resources of Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary. Therein lays one of it’s two Achilles Heels.
Only once in recent history have “The Triangle” communities set aside their petty political pride to work together – The Olympic Festival of 1987 ramroded by Raleigh media mogul Jim Goodmon. The cosmic convergence that led to that once in a millennium effort has never been duplicated.
Definition of Priorities Triangle-style = Cary wants to control what color folks paint their mailboxes … Durham wants to rename the airport DURHAM – Raleigh International … Chapel Hill wants homeless gay dwarfs given full diplomatic immunity. … and Morrisville is tired of being confused with Mooresville.
Where is the center of town? Charlotte’s obvious answer is “Trade & Tryon”. Ask that question to a Triangle resident and you will get anything from Franklin Street to Fayetteville Street to The Duke Chapel. The correct answer may be “the intersection of I-40 and Miami Boulevard”. Nothing “happens” there except 3 hour gridlock twice a day Monday thru Friday.
That second Achilles Heel lies in the economic engines that drive and symbolize the two areas. Charlotte’s economy, based on the financial industry, uses money to make money and expects a tangible quantitative return on their investment.
“The Triangle” economy is based in Government and Education. Tangible results are an alien concept to either enterprise. Politicians and educators get downright offended that anyone might expect “tangible quantitative results”. Harumph! The overwhelming natural advantages of the area seem to negate this egalitarian bureaucrat’s approach to progress.
OK, Government and Education HAS to be somewhere and the sleezy politicians already have their mistresses set-up in North Raleigh hideaways so they might as well stay put in Raleigh. And trying to move the academaniacs out of Chapel Hill and West Derm … well, who else would have’em.
The Triangle may envy Charlotte, but Charlotte is too busy to notice or care. Meanwhile midway between the two, folks in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point simply appreciate what The Triad offers without getting all worked up about what other areas have or don’t have.
That noted philosopher and homicide detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan said “a man’s got to know his limitations”. So with communities. “The Triangle” is a fine area with much to be proud of; but it isn’t Charlotte. The citizens of both areas and throughout the state are better served by the contrasting areas complementing each other rather by one trying to become or outdo the other.
The single GREATEST asset in The Triangle is Raleigh’s wonderful “Greenway Trail System”. Sig Hutcheson deserves a medal. He is one goofy Lib who actually did something that makes sense. Hooray for Sig!
NOTE: If Charlotte’s leaders want a REAL Challenge, let them host Speedweek and the CIAA Tournament simultaneously. YEE HAA … That could be a socio-cultural KABOOM that would rock both constituencies.
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