Understanding the nuances. Being able to appreciate 115 pound men, guiding 1100 pound horses, racing inches apart at 35-40 miles per hour. Admiring an animal running farther than he ever has or likely ever will again; is not a prerequisite to ascertain what is at stake Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
From devotees, to the merely curious, the pursuit of something not achieved since 1978 (and only eleven times in over almost a century and a half) captures the essence of sports: seeing something special. A feat among the most challenging, and to be a part of history even from the comfort of your living room.
American Pharoah is a mile and a half away, the Belmont distance, from winning the Triple Crown after victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The last time it happened Jimmy Carter was President , gasoline prices hovered around 70 cents, mixed martial arts wasn’t a term, The Bee Gees dominated the music charts and LeBron James was six and a half years away from being born.
The possibillities. The hopefuls and the cynics make for must see TV. Some type of interest draws us to sports, particularly the true marquee moments and the individual-even on four feet-trying it.
With American Pharoah there are the two footed stars as well, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, one of the best ever and future Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza. They have those only in sports kind of stories. Baffert has twice lost a Triple Crown by a combined one-fifth of a second, this is his record fourth shot at it. Espinoza is the only jockey to have three chances to win the Triple Crown.
Stories drive the sometimes out-of-control love of sports. To come close and to keep trying, it’s perfectly not quite perfect and we cheer vicariously of the perseverance and resolve we all endure in some fashion in our own journeys.
Floyd Mayweather, Ronda Rousey, Stephen Curry, Clayton Kershaw, Peyton Manning pull us into their magnetic field. We want to see one of the best of that era, if not all time; we want to share with our friends thoughts on how a championship was decided.
So when they’re off and running Saturday at the massive Long Island track, many of us, perhaps close to 20 million, will watch because it will bring all the “can be” in sports to the forefront . We want to share that, either up close or far away via NBC. It could be historic.
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