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Inside looking out: Down the stretch we come!

Published August 31. 2018 10:52PM

Our lives, inside my wild imagination, can be described in the vernacular of a horse race. Stay with me on this. We just change “horse” to human, but allow the word “race” to literally mean running and not in terms of genetic likeness. Here I describe different aspects of life in horse racing terms.

“Across the board,” we are challenged early in our lives to be winners and never losers. “Win, place and show” are admirable achievements. Any thing below third and we will be “put out to pasture” if we can’t compete.

“Front-runners” are selected “favorites” to win employment promotions and wear the bridle of red roses in the “winner’s circle.” On the “fast track” to supervisory positions, these front-runners are often “long shots” to do their jobs better than those more qualified and really should be “dark horses” and the nod to climbing the corporate ladder should go to employees who have proved “track records.”

Anyone with a disability is awarded a deserved vehicle benefit because of a “handicap,” but I’m still trying to understand the young men who pulled their car into a handicap spot at a concert recently and then proceeded to play a touch football game in the parking lot.

Life is a “marathon and not a sprint.” If we could slow time down and stop moving too fast, eating too fast, working too fast and thinking too fast, we might enjoy more moments that often are lost so we can get on to the next thing to do.

Those who display the “look of eagles” put their confidence into action and their efforts are not always about defeating the competition. Who knows if the winning horse in a race kicked it into gear to defeat the other horses or was he just running with the wind with a big smile across his big teeth. Go ask Justify if he was thrilled to win the Triple Crown.

Speaking of confidence, some people “spit the bit” and quit life’s challenges when they see they can’t overcome them. The best (and worst) excuse for quitting anything is “I’m too tired.” Tell that to the dad who stays up all night with his crying baby and then goes to work or the working mom who feeds her children at 9 o’clock at night after driving them home from a soccer game.

Of course, there are “scratches” in the race. People who won’t bother to get into the “starting gate.” They give in and give up, thinking why bother if we’ll never see the “finish line.”

So let’s say we have a race and line up seven “horses” for what I’m going to call the “Run to Happiness Derby.” The horses’ names are Too Much Risk, Go For The Money, No Regrets, Couch Potato, Lucky At Love, Peace Of Mind, and Runaway. Try to pick the trifecta.” Who wins, finishes second and third in order.

They’re off!

That’s Go For The Money jumping out to the early lead with Too Much Risk in second on the rail while Peace of Mind holds third. Lucky At Love sits in the middle in fourth followed by No Regrets, Runaway, and Couch Potato who is four lengths in the rear.

As they come to the first turn, Go For The Money widens its step on Too Much Risk. Lucky At Love slides past Peace Of Mind. No Regrets holds pace in fourth followed by Runaway and Couch Potato, now slipping to a full 12 lengths behind the leaders.

At the quarter mile, Lucky At Love is neck and neck with Go For The Money to lead the pack. Peace Of Mind jumps ahead of Too Much Risk with No Regrets making a strong move to contend from the outside. Runaway seems to be slowing and Coach Potato appears too tired to want to run anymore.

Just before the final turn, Lucky at Love grabs the lead by a neck over Peace Of Mind with Go For The Money slipping to third. No Regrets is coming hard from the outside to join the contenders. Too Much Risk is slowing his pace and fading. Oh, no! Runaway has turned around the other way and is passing Couch Potato who has stopped to eat grass from the turf track!

And down the stretch they come!

Lucky At Love is in front with Peace Of Mind running stride for stride. No Regrets is moving up fast from the outside. Go For The Money has faded four lengths behind, Too Much Risk has broken into a trot while Couch Potato eats more grass at the second turn and Runaway has returned to the starting gate!

Across the finish line they sprint. Finishing first by a nose in the “Run to Happiness Derby” is No Regrets, followed by Lucky At Love and then Peace of Mind.

Did you hit the trifecta?

Rich Strack can be reached at

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