Can someone explain to me the qualifications for immortality?
Earlier this week on a drive to work, I was flipping through some of the lesser sports stations on XM Radio and came across a show called “Down The Stretch,” a horse racing show.
Normally, I would have skipped by this show in record time, but an argument grabbed my attention – the type of argument that seems instantly asinine.
I’ll Have Another doesn’t have that air of immortality that horses like Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Secretariat and War Admiral have.
How can anyone say that? Who gets to be the guy that can pass judgment so soon?
In all honesty, how can any athlete, or horse, for that matter, be deemed immortal or not before they have an opportunity to cement his/her/its legacy?
How many times have we seen a basketball player crowned the “Next MJ”? Iverson, Carter, LeBron? How many times has the media jumped the gun on someone’s greatness and missed on an epic level?
I’m sorry, but these are the same people that told me that Cam Newton was not a running quarterback or that Aaron Rodgers could NEVER fill Brett Favre’s shoes.
Because I’ll Have Another doesn’t give off the same “air of immortality” doesn’t give anyone the right to write him off instantly. What if people had written off a skinny Canadian kid in the early 80s when he started playing for Edmonton?
“Oh, that Gretzky kid just doesn’t have the same aura about him that Howe, Orr and Esposito had. He’ll never be one of the greats.”
Maybe it’s Doug O’Neill, the horse’s controversial trainer, that brings out all of these negative overtones. He’s been accused and implicated in performance enhancing tactics for his horses in the past and those that follow this sport are more traditionalist than golf purists.
Um… hello? Black guy winning The Masters in 1997? That went over well, right Fuzzy Zoeller?
There comes a time when we, as sports fans, have to leave the cynicism at the door and just let things play out. We’re not going to make someone’s fate by deciding if they’re good or not before they have an opportunity. This isn’t the WWE, boys and girls. It don’t work that way in real life.
Saturday afternoon marks the next opportunity for the sports world to witness something that hasn’t happened in three decades.
If it doesn’t happen, then it won’t be the first time in the last few years that we’ve seen a Triple Crown contender fall short at The Belmont. But what if it does?
If it does, then the horse that didn’t give off an air of immortality will be in purely immortal company.
And somewhere, some asshole that thinks he knows more than the rest of us will be wrong.
Some things never change.