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Fascinated from Afar…

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Dr. Rodney Blackman |

Every year, we are treated to certain spectacular sporting events just the once. This builds tradition. This flavours our thinking. And, this ignites our curiosity. Certain annual events are special – and we expect them to be! They intercept our interest, capture a cacophony, fuel a frenzy, magnify our mutterings, and forever punctuate our platitudes.

These are not the series events – the best-of-this, or the best-of-that, where the next game is tomorrow, or later this week. These are once-a-year deals that have taken years, to cultivate for – to prepare for – and to work for…

This past weekend was the running of The Preakness. I was fortunate to tune in at the running of the race, and it was a good one – in the simple sense that it was competitive. And enjoyable. And interesting – captivating, even, perhaps.

The Preakness is one of those spectacular sports events that we have annually. Similarly, we’ve had The Kentucky Derby; and, The Belmont is right around the corner…. So – The Preakness is kind of sandwiched in there, and all together the three make up:

The Triple Crown.

But I must admit, the sport of horse racing has mostly sort of fascinated me from afar. Maybe you’re like that too – it’s a really big deal to some other people; and it fashions a lovely life for many in the horse racing industry. At the least, it seems, there are rich and beautiful people gathering around for all these big horse races…and these people – they all have, what is it – decorum? Perhaps. Yes – that’s the word I want. They all have this great decorum. And, while I’d like to think that decorum is not lost on me, I was sufficiently intrigued to try to understand these circumstances of horse-racing a wee-bit better. And, here’s what I discovered…

Winning seems to have a very special place, and winning without dignity or grace is not really winning…

Horse racing is much bigger in scope than I had ever imagined…then it occurred to me…

Life is that way, often, isn’t it? At first blush, we think we understand – but upon further review… so much more is revealed…

But back to my observations of The Preakness…

As all into it as everybody seemed to be, there was no one there who bench-pressed 100 lbs. at birth – what would be the point! To be more precise, and perhaps not unclear, what I mean is…

There was a lot of posturing, and posing, and bending, and genuflecting, and leaning, and tipping, and balancing – and it was all being done in a very precise and practiced way – which led me to think that these people in this horse racing business are, well…good at it!

Then that made me wonder if horse racing is like that around the world!?!?!

And this wondering sets the stage for what I’d like to draw your attention to with this posting…

Now hang on…y’see, in a moment here, I’m going to invite you to look into a rich topic – and I’ll also be giving you a chance or two…or tree, or four…to click away from this posting…and this site….

Please, please, please…don’t forget to click your way back to this posting – and read the rest of this story {it’s worth it, I promise!!!}. Ok? Deal? If you go – come back, right? Got it? Cool.

Cool.

Now, you see, the horse racing industry is very near and dear to a healthy load of fine Irish folks. As a matter of fact, here are some details about the role of the Irish in the horse racing industry that just may come as a surprise…

Horse racing in Ireland is a multi-billion dollar industry… click here for a wee bit more of this…

Also, there are 26 Racecourses throughout Ireland, any one of which would be sure to delight you beyond measure… for way more on this click here

And horse racing has risen to become a major consideration in the Irish economy, both for jobs, and for the interests of the Irish people… additional details on this found here

So, as you might expect, the reputation of the Irish and their horses is lush with respect and honor… more of this seen by clicking here

And, Irish Sport Horses may well be some of the world’s greatest athletes, of all time! Not even kidding! Check it out here

But some of the greatest bits about the Irish and their horses are that they have these things figured out…

  • Even for their friends, people filter and spin,
    yet…
  • Everybody’s beautiful, in their own way….
    still,
  • You cannot truly live, unless there is something for which you would die,
    and…
  • To be alive means…to not be completely consistent – we are our contradictions – they define us, and shape our character…
    so,
  • Sometimes even you require a bit of help…

These days, to let yourself be loved is far more daunting than to love. Try not to forget, folks, that there are times when vulnerability knows no shame. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail. Ask any athlete.

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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