Surprised by a Winner

I never dreamed about, obsessed over, or ached to own horses. I didn’t draw them or collect statues of them. I rode them occasionally at camp and liked it fine, but I was never one of those girls.

I had friends who were.

I had a friend in high school who showed horses “out east” — wearing the shiny high boots and funny hat. Her horse, which boarded with a trainer, liked cherry Life Savers and won Grand Champion at shows and was worth a pile of money. I never saw the horse with my own eyes, only photos in horse show magazines. I never smelled the sweat/manure/hay in the barn.

I’m far more of a car girl, really. I did draw those and I did collect miniatures of them in the form of Matchbox Cars, come to think of it. And I really hadn’t until just now as I am writing. I really do find delight in my digressions sometimes.

Anyhow, I didn’t rush out to see Secretariat in the theaters when it was released. I didn’t even have it on my usually short list of movies to maybe see on the big screen.

I’d gotten one of those Groupon deals which gave me three DVD overnight rentals for $1 and needed to use them up before June 1, so I was standing on the sidewalk in front of Walgreen’s trying to decide what to bring home. I snagged Despicable Me (another I’d not yet seen) and Secretariat. (That whole Redbox thing is just cool.)

Despicable Me was fun.

Secretariat was delicious.

I loved so much about it. I’m not going to ramble (though I could) about John Malkovich and Diane Lane. I’m not going to blather on and on about the sets and costumes. I’m not even going to tell you all the things Disney did right with this story — things that celebrated family and relationship and life.

The moment I knew I was hooked was a moment watching that horse race in the Kentucky Derby — the first of the Triple Crown races — when I realized I was holding by breath. I knew the outcome. I knew the story. But I was on the edge of my seat watching the impossible.

And then the impossibility grew until all that was left was unfettered hope and grace.

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