Saturday, May 21, 2005

It's just a horse

Who knew you could get emotional about a horse? Okay, besides everyone who saw Seabiscuit... Fine, Black Beauty and National Velvet too... Now you're just ruining the mood.

I got up this morning, turned on the television and started flipping through some channels. I was in the mood for some tennis, so I headed for the low 30s. That's where the ESPNs reside on my cable. As long as it wasn't a match with the Williams sisters, I was going to be fine. The Williams sisters bug me. They always have for some reason. But that's another story.

Anyway, there was a horse racing show on The Deuce so I skipped that. I also skipped over some car race on the Speed Channel, a fishing show and two hunting shows.

Then I got to ESPN Classics. They had documentary about a horse called Whirlaway on. For some reason, I started watching. This horse was awesome. So awesome I started tearing up watching him win these incredible come-from-behind races. By the time he won the Triple Crown -- blowing the competition off the track -- I was a basket case.

Then, just as I think they've doled out enough emotion on a Saturday morning, they up the stakes.

It's the early 40s and WWII is raging. It turns out Whirlaway has captured the imagination of the nation as it were. That's not hard to believe after watching film of him winning some of these big races. Seriously, he was in last place in one of the legs of the Triple Crown -- so far back he's literally not even in the picture -- and the fucking horse lays it on at the last turn and torches everyone. It was unreal.

Turns out most of the country sort of felt like Whirlaway in the first two thirds of the race. Pearl Harbor brought us into the war and we and the Allies were getting spanked. Then there's this hard-to-handle horse that comes roaring out of last place to win again. He was a hero.

They're showing clips of GIs listening to a radio broadcast of one of his races and I'm about to gush. When they start telling about how this damn horse ended up raising more money in War Bonds than all the other celebrities hawking them, I'm smiling and my face is wet.

When it was over, I was left thinking that since I couldn't blame it on hormones, I was glad no one was around. I also realized that it felt good to get a little emotional... even if it was just a horse.


The Zombieslayer said...

Well, horses are usually smarter than celebrities to begin with.