It's derby weekend back home and I know the whole city is crazy and decked out. I know it's sort of the cool thing among my college/grad-school aged crowd to be all "meh" about derby, and I'll admit that I'm kind of with them. But at the same time, I can't quite get over my girlhood fascination with horses--I guess living in the dairy state for awhile made me prefer the equine to the bovine in farm animals--and riders. I remember, at age ten, two years after moving to Kentucky, I wanted to be a jockey. Between my above-average height and my soon-realized allergies to just about everything in a barn, my dream was quickly dashed. And of course, I now know all about the unpleasant goings-on of the racing industry (who in this state doesn't?) and I have a firm opinion on gambling (I've heard of and even seen a few too many disasters), and so a little of the dramatic magic is lost.
Yet still, each year, for two minutes, watching beautiful, strong, athletic creatures test the limits endurance, hurtling forward amongst the roar of a crowd and announcers speaking a thousand words a second, and wondering who will be a surprise or no surprise at all in the winner's circle under the garland of roses, it's hard not to enjoy at least a little bit of festivity.