Friday, May 02, 2008


There are certain endeavors that don’t generally garner a great deal of attention. Some people call them sports and while I agree that many of these endeavors do qualify as sports, most fall short of that moniker for me. Granted, I’m guilty of equating sports with athletics and when I define athleticism I believe there has to be some significant degree of exertion. I ride a bicycle but I don’t consider myself to be participating in a sport when I do.

So pardon me if I don’t think of various forms of racing, particularly the horse and automotive varieties, to be sports. The physical exertion of the athlete is not a direct component of the race. Jockeys and drivers can’t improve performances by hitting the gym. At least in horse racing the credit goes to the pony. In automotive racing we celebrate the guy who spent the better part of a Saturday turning left. WOOOO!

So here we have THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY which means its Kentucky Derby time. By the way, is anybody else just a little creeped out by the fact that Kentucky’s official abbreviation is KY? Squeal like a pig! And do you suppose that there’s a tobacco flavored intimate lubricant made for of dentally-impaired friends to the south?

It kills me that so many people become so enamored with the Kentucky Derby, just as millions of people will suddenly take an interest in Indy Car racing in a few weeks. The entire year goes by and nobody thinks about horse racing but this weekend everybody will be talking about it. There are two other horse races that people follow but that’s because there’s an infatuation with the TRIPLE CROWN. Interest in the Belmont Stakes depends on whether the Derby winner wins The Preakness.

Don’t get me wrong, horses are awesome animals and as a country we owe a considerable debt of gratitude to these ready, willing and able creatures but I have trouble celebrating a horse as an athlete. I just don’t believe that horses are capable of making the conscientious sacrifices human athletes make. Michael Jordan could have easily called it a career after winning his third NBA title in a row. He was rich, at the top of his game and had nothing left to prove and he actually did step away for a while but he came back and won three more titles.

Horses don’t get themselves out of bed at 4am. They don’t spend 12 hours a day perfecting themselves because they want to be the best…horses follow orders. They train because that’s what they’re told to do. I’m not saying that horses don’t think, and that they don’t have personalities but it’s not on the same level as people. We can debate it all you want but until you show me a horse holding out for a better contract I’m not buying it.

Besides, I don’t much care for people races. Track and field events don’t excite me at all. I appreciate the effort and athleticism world class athletes exhibit but I just don’t much care to watch anybody or anything run around in circles as fast as they can.

Later this year we’ll be treated to the Summer Olympics where people get excited about more endeavors they usually couldn’t care less about. Pardon me for not jumping on the bandwagon.

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