the secretary chose the name

So as it turns out, jockeys don’t wear chaps. Who knew?

Michelle and I were actually able to take in a flick together. I think the last time this happened was sometime circa 19holy-crap-that-was-a-long-time-ago. Michelle’s choice: Secretariat. The reason: “I want to be inspired. Let’s be inspired.”

I’m thinking the movie is well done if you know the horse is going to win and you’re still on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, cheering him on.  Some have even been known to pray during the race scenes. Or so I’ve been told. By Michelle. Long story. Ask her.

Randall Wallace, the man who brought us Braveheart, knocked it out of the park with this one. Secretariat is a well done film with so many fantastic themes, lessons, and concepts to discuss. Here’s just a couple quick thoughts I took with me:

Do what you’re made to do and encourage others to do the same: Secretariat loved to run. Loved it. After the Preakness (race two of the Triple Crown) the common approach was to rest the horse. The people who knew Secretariat the best knew that he loved to run. They felt that if he ran fast one day, he’d run faster the next. The decision was made to take a gamble and train the horse between races. They allowed him to train as hard as he wanted to. Just before the Belmont, the final race of the Triple Crown Lucien Laurin (trainer) instructed Ron Turcotte (jockey) to “…let him go. Don’t push him, but don’t hold him back.” Secretariat’s response: a track record and winning gap that has not even been approached in the 37 years since. (31 lengths, 2 minutes 24 seconds flat.) What am I made to do? What do I love to do? What about my wife and kids? How can I encourage them to find out and to take action?

Past failures should not be allowed to predict our future: Trainer Lucien Laurin carried newspaper clippings of the major losses of his career. He burned these before the Belmont. Jockey Ron Turcotte had ridden a horse literally to death before being selected to ride Secretariat. If they had stopped working, trying, caring; if they had given up their stories would have ended much differently. What newspaper clippings am I carrying around that need to be burned? Do I have the courage to get off the dead horse…and on the one that loves to run?

We all need an Eddie Sweat in our lives: Eddie Sweat was the groom for Secretariat. Throughout the film he is depicted as a man who consistently whispered success and encouragement in the ears of the horse while gently caring for him. His excitement and victory celebrations were mainly private moments that felt like celebrations filled with “I knew you could do it!” How can I consistently whisper success in the ears of those I love?

The man who rode Secretariat now lives in a wheelchair: Five years after riding Secretariat Ron Turcotte fell from his horse at the start of a race and was left a paraplegic. I want to be careful how I say this, because I mean it with a true sense of respect: I bet a conversation with Mr.Turcotte would be incredible. He rode arguably the most impressive race horse in history thus far, and now he rides a wheel chair. I think he would have many thoughts on success, failure, opportunity, hard work, the power of memories (good and not so good)…as the announcers used to say, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” What lessons am I learning during this portion of my race?

Interested in digging a little deeper? Click this link to Secretariat. You can learn more about the actual horse and people as well as following links to more information on the film. I also found this video of the actual 1973 Belmont Stakes race. If you can’t see the player below, click here for the video.

What has inspired you lately?

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