On Monday morning at 9:00, I was standing on the Saratoga backstretch, drinking coffee and watching horses work out. On Wednesday morning at 9:00, I was standing in a classroom, drinking coffee and watching a small group of seniors complete their first academic task of the school year.
On Monday afternoon at 2:30, I was standing at a picnic table in Saratoga’s backyard, drinking beer and watching horses warm up before the fourth race. On Wednesday afternoon at 2:30, I was standing in a classroom in downtown Brooklyn, drinking water and introducing eleventh graders to the work they’ll do throughout the year.
My days are now measured in 50-minute periods, not in minutes to post.
I’m reading poetry instead of past performances.
My morning strolls take me past a 19th century bridge instead of a 19th century backstretch; my office is no longer in an historic clubhouse, but in an historic former mansion.
Instead of discussing media policy with turf writers, I’m discussing grading policy with teachers.
My copies of American Race Horse, They’re Off! Horse Racing at Saratoga, and The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America have lost their pride of place, supplanted by Much Ado about Nothing, Psycho, and The New Yorker.
I’m still getting up when it’s dark out, but instead of donning barn boots and grabbing my recorder to head to work, I’m donning school shoes and grabbing my gradebook.
I’m spending less time at the laptop and more time at the whiteboard; I’m writing words for high school students, not racing fans.
Now, there are lessons to plan, and texts to prepare, and assignments to create. And on Saturday, horses to meet, and trainers to see, and stories to write.
See you at Belmont.