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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Derby 135 (Or, First Lessons in Losing)

Last Saturday, we celebrated the Kentucky Derby in our own special way. Much like last year, we each grabbed a hat and tons of snacks and spent a couple hours in Grandaddy's room watching the festivities. For the record, there were no tears this time.

(I love when he dresses himself.)

We divided the 20 horses among the five of us, so we each had pretty good odds. Chase remembered winning last year and I took the prize this year.

After the race, Sammie disappeared, so I went looking for her.  I found her all scrunched up on the couch crying because she didn't win.

Well, well, well, isn't this a good teaching moment?  

Besides the fact that hardly ANYONE wins when gambling is involved, I tried to explain that in life, we'll lose more often than we win. That lots of people will finish before we do. And that most of the time when we win, it's because of many, many hours of hard work and dedication and not because we dropped a dollar in a hat and crossed our fingers. 

And, we can't win at everything.  There's simply not enough time to master everything, so we need to choose carefully the races we're in.  Are they worth winning? Worth training for?  Am I training for a futile competition of whose children are more polite or whose house is cleanest? (Oh, sorry, this is about Sam.)  

Paul wrote it like this to the church in Corinth:

"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally." (The Message)

Yes. That's exactly what I meant.  

Did you learn anything new on Derby day?



  1. It wasn't a new lesson, but reinforcement of an old lesson: never give up. We talked about the example that the story of the winning horse & jockey set for us. Good lessons: (1) you don't have to have the most expensive stuff to be successful (a $9500 horse arriving in a beat-up trailer versus a $2.5 million horse jetting in from overseas and stabled in digs that you could eat off the floor), (2) determination (driving over 1800 miles with a shattered ankle to give your horse an opportunity to win), (3) confidence (believing from the beginning that you have what it takes no matter what the elite of the sport or media doofus' say), and (4/5) patience & instinct (paying attention to the situation at hand and not making hasty decisions -- letting a horse hold back until it sees the opening and knows when to move). There are so many life lessons to be found in racing. There are plenty of negative ones too, but I love a happy-ending, feel-good triumph like "Mine That Bird"! Can't wait for the Preakness!

  2. Great entry/teaching, Kris. I hate that I missed the race. I'm looking forward to the completion of this traveling phase. Brian