Photo: Don August
Racing is dying. Nobody wants to say it, but the fan base is
slowly withering away. Yes, racing still has big days like the Kentucky Derby
, Preakness, Belmont, and Breeders' Cup
. The stars come out for the glamour
of it all and eat it up, but overall, racing is not the shining star it once
was, seeing as how new sports have come to light. People are into football,
baseball, basketball and soccer. There are more options today, more options
that are put into the limelight and given more attention.
Knowing this, you would think that racing would welcome
change and do whatever it could to welcome, young new fans, but that is not always
the case. In fact, it’s far from it.
I have always been opinionated and very brash about my
opinions. I tell it straight as an arrow and I don’t sugarcoat a thing. I have
ideas, many ideas that I have written and blogged about, ideas to help change
for the better, ideas I think could help. I write about them because I want to
see this sport thrive. I want to see it brought back to the days of its former glory,
because I love this game and my passion for it is simply undeniable.
I realize that not everyone may agree with me, and that is perfectly fine.
We can have civilized and educated debates, and maybe in the process build an even
better idea. That is completely fine and good, because even in the heat of
debate, we are trying to work together, instead of tear each other apart. Unfortunately,
not everybody does that. In fact, I’ve run into more people willing to simply
take shots at me, rather than helping and working with me.
I don’t normally let that type of thing phase me, but today
it happened to a friend. She was told that because she didn’t live in Kentucky,
because she didn’t get up at 6am, because she doesn’t have a degree, that she
isn’t a true fan and doesn’t deserve her paid job as a journalist. She was told
this by a man, who isn’t an owner, isn’t a trainer, isn’t a breeder, or
bloodstock agent, but a groom. But because he lives in KY, he apparently could
do her job just as well as she could. Are you serious? What type of prejudice
Believe it or not, there are many in this sport that are
just like this man and he is just as much of a cancer to the sport as are the
trainers that dope their horses and the owners that support them. When you take
the time out of your day to tell a fellow fan that they aren’t fan and don’t
deserve what you worked for, just because they didn’t get to grow up in
Kentucky around the privileges that you did, is absurd. When you tell a person
that they don’t count because they are too young, or because of their sex, that
Racing is losing fans and people like this man are a very
big part of the reason. If you were a young fan, trying to make your way in the
industry, just getting started, and he told you that, would you want to stay?
Would you be encouraged to keep moving forward? Or, would you take your time
Racing cannot afford people like this. Racing is struggling
to keep its fan base as it is, and cannot afford to push away new, young,
willing, passionate fans. We need to try to do as much as we can to keep as
many as possible. A true fan of racing would understand that and a true fan
would commend those who are following their passion. If we want this sport to
live, we need to realize that what we say and what we do could be any young fan’s
first impression. We should do our best to make it a good one.