This spring, I’ve had the unbelievable opportunity to dream plausibly about seeing two personal sporting milestones in person: the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals and a 12th Triple Crown winner.
We know how the first one turned out. And now, the day before the second, I’m not so sure I want to see it.
Of course, I’ve imagined what it would be like to be at Belmont Park, a place that I love, with my brother and our friends, when a Triple Crown is won. I’ve imagined how I would feel, what the crowd would sound like, how the immensity of Belmont would be literally shaken with exultation. I’ve imagined jubilation.
When I think about tomorrow, I don’t feel that way. It’s easy to pick a spot on either side of the fence: Yes, please, a Triple Crown. I want to see history. I want to see this feat attained by this accomplished horse.
No, thank you. History can wait. Too many questions about this trainer, too many shadows around this owner.
In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois, a faded beauty with plenty of shadows of her own, cries, desperate to keep her carefully constructed facade from crumbling, “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” For her, reality is too cruel, and it’s only in fantasy that she can survive.
When the Triple Crown is won again, I want it to be magic. I want the joy to be unadulterated. I want the celebration to go on for weeks. I want to bask in history until the Kentucky Derby preps start the next winter.
If I’ll Have Another Wins, it will be impossible to, as some suggest we do, separate the horse from the discussion of the owners. It will still be historical, it will no doubt be majestic; it might even be legendary. And by tomorrow night at 7:00, I might even have changed my mind.
But by Sunday morning, dirt will be re-dug up. Violations will be re-hashed. Hard questions will be asked. Celebration will be mixed with scrutiny.
So for now, I think I’m happy to wait a little longer for the next Triple Crown winner. Sometimes, delightful elusiveness–if not magic–is better than reality; sometimes, anticipation is better than accomplishment. Tomorrow, I’ll pass on Another, thanks.