Why we care…or not

1 06 2006

NB: you really want to read this entry first. It’s OK; we’ll wait until you get back. 🙂

Pat Forde at ESPN weighs in on why people who would not consider themselves racing fans or horse fanatics care what happens to Barbaro. He ascribes some of the outpouring of emotion to guilt for what we ask these animals to do for our entertainment and our wallets, not to mention the tastes of “drama-addicted America”. (Too true–the Olympics on NBC are absolutely unwatchable because of the broadcasters’ determination to wring mawkish drama out of every situation, and many viewers in the northern US prefer to watch the Canadian feeds.)

He continues: Bonds’ hitting 714 was inevitable. Barbaro’s breaking his leg certainly was not. It was a wholly unpredictable outcome — especially to casual fans who don’t know the grisly statistics on how common thoroughbred breakdowns really are.

And while it is easy to cheer against Bonds and other athletic churls, cheaters and chokers, race horses are — like most domesticated animals — almost universally laudable creatures. They try hard, do not complain and do not get in much off-the-track trouble. They’re pure.

And they are absolutely beautiful, at rest and especially in motion.

Which is, again, in stark contrast to Bonds. 😉

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