It’s snowing outside my office right now, as you can see from the picture I took from the Vice President’s office. It’s somehow fitting that a new season be ushered in this day, and the autumnal events be considered a collective past from which to progress.
I don’t consider myself a typical sports fan, but in the grand scheme of the idea, I love “sport.” I LOVE the Olympics, I love international events that bring us all together and test our wills and our dreams and our physical ability to push. One of my dearest friends ran the New York Marathon this weekend, and that is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever had to miss. Good on her.
My other die hard sports did not fare so well in the grand statistical sense. My Utes of course came up short on their legacy to have another undefeated season and didn’t just lose but were mercilessly trampled by TCU. I could tell in the first 5 minutes that we were going to be outplayed, and of course it wasn’t even a close game.
The more painful sporting moment of the day was of course Zenyatta’s powerful, extraordinary performance in the Breeder’s Cup Classic which left her fans just inches short of an undefeated lifetime. But our girl is more loved than ever for her magnificent spirit, coming back from a hard start of having dirt thrown in her face by all 11 boys in front of her, falling way back to recover, and then catapulting forward to try and claim victory in her signature style. Even in loss, for all my 25 years, the majority of which have been spent watching hundreds of horses race in the greatest contests on earth, I can say no horse (who wasn’t my own) has ever stolen my heart more than she, or impressed me more. She is singular. She is a Man O’ War and a Secretariat. Fools who vote against her for Horse of the Year will look back 20 years and realize that they voted against the horse that SAVED THEIR SPORT. They will be voting against the movement to put the horse first, to keep a horse happy, to not run a filly into the ground like Ruffian or Rachel Alexandra. If they are so insolent, then let the sport of kings die, along with kings. Democracy is on the up, and Zenny would make a lovely Dressage horse without them anyway.
In the end, what we as sportsfans and humans need isn’t undefeated seasons and lifetimes, but really to know that our heroes are mortal, just as we are. We are frail to the dirt upon us, the mighty in front of us, and we still play to the end of the 4th quarter, and we still run with all our hearts to the very last stride. It’s good to be alive, no matter the outcome of all the days in between. The snow sweeps out our regret, and ushers in new attempts at a life well lived.