I watched the 2016 Preakness Derby that is held annually in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness is one of two of the biggest races in horse racing. The other two are the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. Horses are bred, trained, and groomed solely to compete in this event. Not unlike that rising star in a company or a family that’s groomed to take over the reins of a money maker.
America’s fixation with sports is a mirror of the attitude of the culture we thrive in. Under the lights, making money for the owners and quenching our thirst for the adrenaline rush of competition, the participants (humans and animals) are treated like royalty with everything and everyone at their beck and call. I’m not hating, the limelight is well earned by most sports participants.
But those under the limelight should know it’s brightness and focus is energized by turncoats.
Right now would be a good time to give The Temptations “Standing on The Top” a listen.
Two horses died at the 2016 Preakness event. A lot of people never batted an eye or even heard about it.
Maryland-bred Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding who ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, collapsed after winning the first race on a dreary day and having his picture taken in the winner’s circle. Cause of death unknown.
In the fourth race, Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly, collapsed on the turf during the final turn with a fracture in the left front leg. She was euthanized on the track.
You see these animals weren’t running in the big show, under the big light. So their death didn’t slow the roll of the rich suits and fancy hat wearers. But they were animals that couldn’t tell their trainers that maybe they weren’t feeling well and maybe should have sat that one out. Not that the trainers would have agreed to sit them out. Ask pro football players what they’re told when they tell a trainer they don’t feel good.
I’ll do us one better. Let’s ask ourselves how would we feel if paid say $75 for a ticket and our favorite performer, athlete, horse, didn’t perform? Didn’t show up? That light we were shining on them would get a little dimmer. The managers and owners of the no-shows would start thinking trade, cut, fire, because in our society if you can’t make big dollars you don’t make sense. If you can’t give us our adrenaline rush then we’ll just find someone who can – damn what’s wrong with you.
Pramedya was euthanized. There is that mirror casting back our society for us to see.
Countless people are socially euthanized when they fall from grace, and can’t deliver on our lofty expectations any longer.
People are emotionally euthanized out of relationships when they don’t make that money anymore, don’t have that shape anymore, can’t provide that lofty bang anymore.
You see we are a society of expectations. Don’t deliver on what we expect and you get put out to pasture – just like a horse that repeatedly loses. Yeah in most cases the horses are provided the basics to keep them living but no one really cares about them anymore.
Top dollar athletes, business people, celebrities, that fall hard from the top share a similar fate. They’re afforded the basics to keep them alive and away from us – but really nobody gives a damn about them.
The thing of it is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a dog, horse, cat, or human being when you’re no longer an asset in this society you become a liability. And our society hates liabilities because liabilities can get messy. Liabilities can pull some bones out of closets we would prefer to stay in that closet.
Bones like maybe those of a horse the owner of that closet claimed to love but ran said horse to it’s death all in the name of fame and fortune. Or maybe those emotional bones that reveal you only cared about your significant other’s success, wealth, looks, sexual prowess and when those superficial attractions subsided you booted them.
Shout out to the horse Nyquist. No, he didn’t win the Preakness but he’s about to be a perfect case study for what I’m writing about here. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby in such a convincing fashion folks had tagged him to win all three Belmont, Kentucky & Baltimore aka the Triple Crown. Do that and his sperm is worth more than that car you’re driving.
Ny came into Baltimore a celebrity. A media darling, and oddsmaker’s magnet. America couldn’t get enough of Nyquist – until his nemesis, Exaggerator beat him bad at the Preakness. Shout out to Exaggerator – you did the damn thang. Bask in that spotlight while you can – it’s a fickle light – ask Nyquist.
And when the grand event is over we pack up and go home. The losers eventually get put out to pasture, out of sight, out of mind. Some meet their fate trying to deliver on one more expectation.
I’m not saying sports and entertainment are wrong. I do think we need to develop a more humane and compassionate environment for those that sacrifice themselves for the sake of our emotional pleasures and those that add to our quality of life.