Circling the Drain

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Coach Chris hit a fly ball during batting practice. Thwack. Logan caught it on the bounce. Another one. Thwack. It skipped past Ben. Another one. Thwack. Ace stabbed it to his right. 

“I’ve got to ask you something…” Coach said, as I tossed a ball from the bucket to his left hand and he swung again. Thwack. Hammer missed it at his shoelaces. Another one. Thwack. Ryan hesitated.

I thought it was going to be about our lineup…should we put Dakota earlier in the lineup…Colby cleanup…Colt lead off…and then Coach Chris snuffed that out. 

“You’ll be the one to ask…What about the Derby?”

I shook my head. 

“No good. Cheaters, man.” 

We both shook our heads. 

Nothing else to say. I’m beyond standing up for the sport, I can’t muster a positive spin, a nugget of positivity (that kind of positivity) as the sport continues to slide, well past the fringe, circling the drain. I have lost confidence in the sport that has captivated me like nothing else. I thought about the first Preakness I covered. Silver Charm, Captain Bodgit, Free House and Touch Gold. I covered those horses all week for the once-proud Blood-Horse, went to Radnor, won three and watched the Preakness on a black and white TV propped on a hood of a horse van, imploring Free House for one final lunge, you could see his white eye even on that TV. I had never been more captivated by the thrill of good horses, giving their all. I didn’t question any of it. I lapped it up, drank it down. 

And now, we have a Kentucky Derby in question, a Preakness in turmoil, a trainer who did the wrong thing and can’t say the right thing. The victim card? Really?

I have never had so little interest in a classic. I won’t watch it. The jig is up. I’m not alone.