Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
It is often stated, “all racehorses lose at some point.” As most racing fans are aware, Secretariat lost to Onion in the 1973 Whitney. Blame beat Zenyatta in 2010 in the Breeders Cup Classic. Man O’ War’s record reflects one loss out of 21 races - in the Sanford Memorial Stakes, he was beaten by a half-length, ironically by a horse named Upset.
As humans, we often have our own upsets. I thought my odds of conquering the California Bar Exam on the first try were pretty darned good. I’m a halfway decent writer, I knew the law and I always had high grades in law school. I’m at even odds, right? Maybe even Wise Dan type odds - 4/5!
But an upset it was. It was an immense shock to NOT see my name as I typed in my special “applicant” number, just as it was a shock when Onion crossed the finish line first in 1973. I was numb. How could I have failed? I must have punched in my special code twenty times to double check. But, alas, California Bar Examiners beat me, probably only by a length or two and maybe even by just a head, but beaten nonetheless. To me, it was a monumental upset at first.
But as I interacted and shared my disappointing news with my friends on Facebook, something really amazing happened. I should mention that most of my friends on Facebook are racing related. There are mixes of others scattered too, but a majority of my social media interactions are with racing folks. Anyway, what happened was nothing short of an incredible outpouring of support. Prior to the exam, so many people posted that they were waiting on results for me and thinking good thoughts. When the time came to check and the results were not good, people wrote really nice comments, sent me personal messages, texts and just overall, provided such a great support system for me. I thought I’d feel like the world ended, but quite frankly, I feel a bit like a beaten favorite – a disappointing performance, but I’ll live to fight another day. I’m not retired, no broken bones, and my heart’s still beating.
Speaking of the heart, this is often what makes a beaten favorite come back and win. Man O’ War never lost again. Secretariat came back to win the Marlboro Cup, beating horses such as Riva Ridge, Cougar II, Key to the Mint and Onion.
Similarly, I will come back in February of next year to give the California Bar Exam another shot and hopefully beat it by multiple lengths. I won’t soon forget the kindness shown to me during this journey, and especially the reminders that heart and passion are big factors in achieving goals. Many people reminded me of this, and also that the only true failure is giving up. You, my amazing friends, have the most heart of all, and I thank you from the bottom of mine for inspiring me to see this journey to completion.