July 2012 Archives
Every now and then, someone writes a book that I love.
Less-often, someone pens a tome to which I can relate, directly, and cry my way through to the end.
"Flying Change: A Year of Racing and Family and Steeplechasing" by Patrick Smithwick is one of those books.
This is a tale that speaks to my heart, because only nine years ago, did I find and embrace my own vocation--the reason I was put on this planet. I was 47 at the time, and felt too old to do a turnaround.
Perhaps you understand how I felt? Maybe you're feeling that way right now? I urge you to read this book review--better yet, buy the book--if you're over 40 and feel the urge to embrace the next part of your Life, full-throttle.
I urge you to buy the book, also, if you're over 40 and are terrified of exploring the options.
And I strongly encourage you to read the review--and yes, buy the book--if you're under 40, and think that you have Life all figured out. You're just young enough (and therefore, arrogant enough) to think that things are cast in stone, and you're content.
Read on, O Friends, for--as we who are over 40 know--Life is never cast in stone. Life throws a curve ball at you, and you have two options: duck, and live, or get smacked in the bean...
I am fascinated by popular culture: the fact that so many nice, otherwise-intelligent people have (or make) the time to follow "reality" shows (which have nothing to do with reality, at all), and to give a tiny rat's patootie about the comings and goings of famous people (who wouldn't be famous, were it not that they were willing to eat live scorpions)--blows my mind.
The fact that the majority of these "celebrities" are famous for doing nothing whatsoever; being vulgar or willing to participate in marginal activies or show the world that they are a trollop or a felon--fascinates me even more. Americans pour billions of dollars into the pockets of people whom they know not, and who, by-and-large, are illiterate "authors"--famous for being famous...
I'm not a professional handicapper, but I play one on the Internet.
I've never been a scientific sort: things like speed figures don't make sense to me. And past performances, I defenestrate them, too, because--as y'all must know about me, by now--I realize that horses are sentient beings. Champions have bad days, and ne'er-do-wells wake up some mornings and think, "Today I kick butt."
SIX WEEKS IN SARATOGA
How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year
by Brendan O'Meara
ISBN13: ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3941-9
Excelsior Editions (State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, 257 pages, $27)
I like writing book reviews, because I love reading books. And when I read a book that I love, I want to share it with everyone I know. And--Voila!--via the Miracle of the Internet--I can share it also with lots of peeps whom I don't know.
I love this book, and the reasons for my loving it are many and varied. I'll share but a few with you here, today...
Last September, I posted this on this 'site. My wrap-up for the Saratoga season. But the season is about to begin again, and I feel compelled to remind myself (and maybe you) why Saratoga--America's oldest and most revered race course--is still the epicenter of magic.
The horses are here. The horses' humans are here. The fans --tourists and locals, alike--are here. The Sallee Horse Vans are pulling off at Exit 14--construction, still, and all--and threading their ways down Union Avenue.
All that's necessary now is to wait out a couple of days--I'm sure that your calendar is marked, you're Xing off the days-and Sam the Bugler will be back at his station, calling us all to the post...
Opening Day 2012 at Saratoga Race Course is upon us. This exciting time of year actually makes me pensive, as I consider once again ways to help grow our sport. I write about this industry, and I love the horses and humans who make it happen. So of course I feel a sense of obligation to help the sport become as popular and healthy as possible. This is my community, we're all members of the same team.
With this goal in mind, this morning my attention is drawn to one single premise: that the best and most solid way to revive horse racing--to bring throngs of humans to the track--is to introduce them to The Horse. (IActually, have in mind a secondary plan, but that will be revealed over the course of the next few months. Watch this spot for developments.) ...