The Joy of Blood, Sweat and Tears

June 2015

I sat with my nephew a few days ago and as we started into the usual adult to 8 year old topics of discussion, I noticed a rather nasty scab across his elbow heading up his arm. “Alright rockstar… what in the world did you do to that arm of yours” I blurted out, moving around to survey the damage. I examined it for a minute, still awaiting an answer. He waited until I looked up meeting his gaze, and a broad beaming smile spread across his face. “Came around a corner too fast and crashed my bike “ he stated, his boastfulness and joy evident as the words rolled out of his mouth. “It’s probably going to leave a scar” he added lighting up even more. I felt a smile of my own begin to form across my lips as I let the pride that he felt in that injury register in my brain. “Well you know what they say” I started, giving him a wink “chicks dig scars”. It was a simple moment, and conversation rolled on as he told me a few more stories about mountain biking his new favorite hobby and the usual 8 year old figuring out life moments. I left that afternoon not really thinking much more about it.

It wasn’t until just this morning as I labored around the lake running trails, an attempt to counter act the effects of build your own burger special the previous evening, that it popped back into my mind again. I was drenched in sweat (thank you NC humidity) but found myself getting more and more amped up the sweatier I got. It was like an immediate reward. Mother Nature’s way of reminding me how hard I was working toward my goals. The longer I pondered on it the more I realized the euphoria I often found at the end of activities. What some people might see as gross and unappealing, I saw in a different light. For me winding up sweaty was proof of the passion I had just put into whatever I was doing. And while yes, there is nothing like sliding on a pair of shorts that didn’t quite fit before, I began to wonder if it was the work that went into it that really made me feel good.

This brought me back to thoughts of my nephew. While the sliding across rocks, stumps and dirt after losing control of his bike might not have been the greatest feeling, the following heal time and potential scar was a reminder to him how much he loved his sport. There is something to be said for a few good battle scars. As I thought more on the subject I thought about the things that hurt us in life. There are many types of pain both physical and mental, and at times it can be overwhelming. Usually this is when the tears find their way to the surface. But again, this is just a reminder of the passion that we feel for whatever it is that is hurting us. A goal missed, an event that didn’t go quite right, an argument with someone….. These are all things that can only cause tears when the people involved are truly devoted to what they are doing.

The outcome is always going to be a focus, but as you go through your days toward it don’t forget to take time to relish in the battle itself. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the blood, sweat and tears of it all.

Hell, if you are really strong and truly have a passion for what you want, you might discover it’s the battle that gives you the most satisfaction. Relish in having a few battle scars to show off, appreciate the daily victories that often get overlooked when striving for something big.

Be the 8 yr. old with the best stories on the playground!

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American Pharoah, A New Chance For Racing

June 2015

It was a long drought, 37 years to be exact. Thirty-seven years of near misses, hopeless blow outs and early weekends in June that often went overlooked by mainstream America.

But a week ago today, bars and living rooms all over the country went quiet as the starting gates flew open and American Pharoah took the lead and raced directly into history books and our hearts. In 2 minutes and 26 seconds this amazing creature reminded everyone, sports fans and none sports fans alike, that nothing is truly out of reach. He also silenced all of the experts in his own industry who insisted that the days of the Triple Crown winner were over.

As a kid who grew up riding, who grew up reading everything about horses from The Black Stallion to books on Secretariat , I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my eyes welled up and I think a tear or two found their way down my cheek. While everyone else high fived, hugged and paid off bar room bets, I found myself sitting in overwhelmed silence. We had finally done it.
Apparently I wasn’t alone in this feeling. In an article posted yesterday in the New York Times by a gentlemen named Gary Ginsberg ( Me, My Dad and American Pharoah http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/fashion/me-my-dad-and-american-pharoah.html?_r=0 ) the author talks about growing up going to races and sharing a passion for racing with his father. How he remembers those moments as some of the greatest in both his child and adult life. Reading through posts on blogs and other social media, there are thousands of stories out there that seem to echo this same theme. This is when you are reminded of one of the greatest things sports has to offer us, Tradition. A word that seems to find us less and less as our world gets bigger and faster by the minute.
Horse racing, this is your time and this is your hero, I can just hope it gets maximized.

For the first time in a long time this industry has been blessed with a true American hero. A hero that stepped out the morning after his victory and interacted up close and personal with over 30 members of the press. Some even going as far as to snap pictures kissing him on the mouth. If you know anything about horses or even just most animals bred for speed, they are almost always extremely high strung. This guy is taking it all in stride. Over 30k people showed up at Churchill Downs to welcome him back to Kentucky a few days later. Rumors now include a Vogue article to come out in Aug and even a hint this stud might be the first non-human to be featured on a Wheaties Box.

As someone who has been in the sports travel industry for over ten years I am interested to see what tracks all over the country will roll out with in response to this new opportunity. I have always been quick to point out what amazing opportunities lie in utilizing horse racing as a hospitality for corporations. Its an amazing sport that offers hosts plenty of time to interact with clients throughout the day, while still allowing guests to focus on the 1-2 minutes of action that each race provides. I have found that even guests that know nothing about racing can find entertainment in just picking a name they like and placing a $5 bet. Throw in the tradition, fashion and pageantry that go hand in hand with the bigger racing events and you have something hard to parallel in other “mainstream” sports.

I’m excited to see what the next few months will bring in this amazing sport…. Let’s help our country enjoy its newest hero, and encourage them to partake in enjoying one of the worlds oldest sporting events.

If you are interested in learning more about travel and hospitality programs to horse racing events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, please contact us at info@anytakerssports.com

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The Joy of Blood, Sweat and Tears

I sat with my nephew a few days ago and as we started into the usual adult to 8 year old topics of discussion, I noticed a rather nasty scab across his elbow heading up his arm. “Alright rockstar… what in the world did you do to that arm of yours” I blurted out, moving… Read More

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American Pharoah, A New Chance For Racing

It was a long drought, 37 years to be exact. Thirty-seven years of near misses, hopeless blow outs and early weekends in June that often went overlooked by mainstream America. But a week ago today, bars and living rooms all over the country went quiet as the starting gates flew open and American Pharoah took… Read More