Passion Fueled By 1 Day, 2 Scoops and 3 Channels -

Passion Fueled By 1 Day, 2 Scoops and 3 Channels

My passion for cars was fueled once a week, from 8 a.m. until noon or until my sister kicked me out - what fuels yours?

As summer vacation has given way to fall and holiday sales and Christmas commericals are all over the airwaves, my mind recently drifted back to the best time of the year. When I was a kid, there was nothing better on a Saturday morning than waking up before the rest of the family, pouring a huge bowl of breakfast cereal and plopping down on the family room floor in front of the TV.

My Saturday morning cartoons were ready to start. 

Planning out the morning’s viewing was always difficult, especially because my older sister and younger brother thought they deserved both some of the Sugar Pops and a chance to select the next half-hour’s viewing. That’s why being first to the TV was so important. Because we had never seen a remote control, being within arm’s length of the channel changer was critical to maintaining control of the airwaves.

And yes, to clarify, we had to manually turn a dial to get to one of the three stations (you read that right – three) that our TV set was able to draw in through its set top antenna. The struggle was real.

Over the years, my cartoon favorites all seemed to include one thing: a car. Vehicles were important to me and, usually, were more critical than the characters or their actions.

I found myself particularly enamored by any Warner Brothers cartoon that had a road in it. Of course, that meant the Road Runner played a huge part in my passion for cars. The fact that I knew someone who actually drove a Plymouth Road Runner with that distinctive horn…even better.

Hong Kong Phooey, the superhero crimefighter secret identity of Penry Pooch, drove the “Phooeymobile,” an incredible car that could transform into a boat, a plane or many other vehicles, as needed. The physics were puzzling, but I managed to get past any nagging questions.

The Wacky Racers were a group of race car drivers competing in a series of nonsensical races across the country. Penelope Pitstop was the beautiful female racer, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were the villians, but my favorite was Rufus Ruffcutt and his Buzz Wagon, a log with sawblade wheels.

Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby Doo all drove from adventure to adventure in the Mystery Mobile. The Flintstones got where they were going through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet. The Jetsons had flying cars, for crying out loud, vehicles I’m still waiting for.

And, when Pops would outfit the Mach 5 with some new gadget for Speed Racer’s benefit? Oh, I was in heaven.

And – especially at Christmas, when it came time to make the annual list – the commercials were just as important, at least when Evel Knievel’s Stunt Cycle or the SSP Crash Up Derby cars were shown. And don’t get me started on the Matchbox vs. Hot Wheels vs. Johnny Lightning debate. 

I say all this because those of us who have been around this sitcom called life all have had inspiration for our careers that we may not have even realized helped fuel our passions. For some, it’s ridiculous animation and cheesy voice actors. For others, it’s an influential teacher or mentor.

I have had the pleasure of getting to meet many instructors who have been much more inspirational to their students – future members of the transportation repair industry – than any amount of super-sweet cereal was to me. 

My passion for this industry was fueled once a week, from 8 a.m. until noon or until I had to get up from the floor and clean my room – you get to experience it every day in your classroom from your teachers and teammates. Don’t turn the channel – this is a pretty exciting show.

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