|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Thursday, April 21, 2005
An Open Letter to Jay Cronley
OK, I feel like an enormous jerk. I saw your comment today on my site after you had obviously Googled yourself and took a spin through my archives.
Big, big apology to you.
Then, of course, the explanation. About a year ago a friend (a writer, sort of a mentor I guess) and I were having dinner and talking shop about our respective blogs. He has managed to turn his blogging into a few freelance paid endeavors, and that was appealing to me. Where I felt, at the time, I was enormously deficient was in my focus. I had none. I wrote quite a bit about my past, with which I have a rather tenuous relationship, and a bit about poker as well.
I felt I had no voice, and felt that if I could find a subject on which I would obligate myself to write, I would find it. I love horse racing, and chose that as my subject on which to focus.
Why? Honestly, I have some trouble sometimes with the style with which you write your ESPN columns, and I can't seem to find someone writing thoroughbred pieces that appeal to me. I also believe wholeheartedly the statement I made about horse racing needing an influx of youth behind the pen. However, I do regret saying, "Cronley has got to be one of the worst writers currently collecting a paycheck on this planet." Completely unfair. Hence, the apology.
As far as inspiration goes? I couldn't find the focus I was looking for in horse racing. I didn't pay that close attention (recreational gambler at best) to begin with, and don't pay that close of attention now.
No, you didn't inspire two-and-some-odd years of blogging, but you did inspire the ill-fated attempt to pour myself into writing about racing. I still dig getting out to the track (Great Lakes Downs in Fruitport, MI is less than ten miles away), and don't generally miss the important/televised races, but the "...Thoroughbred Selections" part of the title of my blog is just kinda something I kept around from the old days.
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to write about, but the freelance angle is starting to pay off in bits and pieces.
I hope you can accept my apology and were no worse than "chagrined" to find this little webspace of mine to begin with. Maybe next time I'm swinging through Tulsa (not that I ever have before, but still), you'll let me buy you a beer (in exchange for any insider tips) out at the track.
Best to you Jay,
"BG" of http://www.gamblingblues.com/
Monday, April 18, 2005
It Ain't Over Til It's Over
I have a love/hate relationship with StatCounter, the service that tracks my page statistics. The thing is, I'm alternately chagrined and disturbed by the phrases people Google that land them visits to various parts of my archives.
I really only have myself to blame, and know that telling the following story will only spike those numbers higher for a certain searchable term that will only leave the porn trollers disappointed in the end.
Anyway, the story...
Every mother has a claim to fame, a trademark if you will. For some mothers it's the ability to crank out a multi-course gourmet dinner for twelve on a Sunday afternoon. For others it's their collection of Franklin Mint Princess Di memorabilia.
My mom is the Queen of the unfortunate malapropism.
Case in point, Christmas circa 1990. Bob picks up a box which obviously contains a shirt or sweater and shakes it before opening it up. The muffled slide from within says "big piece of cloth," so my mom, trying to be funny but not unintentionally so, tries to "guess" as to what's in the box by the sound of the shake before he opens it.
I know what she meant to say, and it would have been a little funny had it come out right. That being said, it was much funnier for being so wrong.
"It's an Erection Set!"
So Sunday was a family golf outing, which marked the first time I pulled the sticks out of the bag since last September. It bears mentioning that I am a terrible golfer. Just horrible. Bob, on the other hand, is a ridiculous athlete, one of those guys that just makes everything look completely effortless.
I step up to the first tee, a 380 yard par four cut right through the forest. This is a ridiculously difficult course for someone like me, as shots that miss the middle are likely to be behind a few trees with no easy next shot out. Not only that, but I haven't swung the club but for my three practice swings in about six months. So what happens?
I knock a dead solid 230 yard drive (I use a three wood, don't carry a driver) right down the middle.
It's Bob's turn next, and as he's teeing his ball I notice he's wearing some pretty nifty new golf shoes. I wait until he addresses the ball to talk to him. "Great shoes. You know, forget I said anything. Don't think about your shoes. Think about anything but your shoes instead. Still, those are pretty cool shoes." He looked up at me for a moment, then managed to slice his ball into the trees on the right.
I make bogey, Bob makes double.
Second hole, and I'm talking junk. I mean, everyone knows my game is going to collapse badly on me at some point today, but as long as I keep putting shots together, I'm going to keep talking the smack. I make bogey again, and a too-flustered Bob makes another double.
Third hole, a long par five, and while my tee shot certainly didn't have a great deal of distance behind it, I make that up with a long second shot to the left rough. I hit a monster third to the side of the green, chip up and get down in two. Another bogey. Bob can't seem to get it started and makes triple.
I've got Bob by five shots at this point. Three holes, five shots. This doesn't happen, and it certainly doesn't last.
My short game went on hole four, and my tee shots left the building on five. I played like shit for the rest of the round.
For eight consecutive holes my tee shots were snaking hard right, and I couldn't get a ball straight for my life. So I step up to 13 and set up aimed well left, figuring I won't get my hands through the ball again, and will land this one in the middle of the fairway. Knowing, however, fate always plays cruel jokes I announce to the family that although I'm setting up to artifically play my slice into the fairway, this should probably be the first ball in my last sixty shots that will leap off my club and fly dead straight.
As I'm getting into my pocket for another ball (having seen the last one fly deep into the forest of another county), my mom remarks, "Well, at least you had your three glory holes earlier today."
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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