And the crowd went wild
We all have shared moments. Though much of our life fades one day into the next when we're looking back from the hazy perspective of later, some points in time are crystallized, easy to retrieve no matter how much time has passed. Too many of those moments are tragedy – Kennedy, September 11 – but our collective history glitters with shining moments, too. To those we can add a bright new one.
Where you you when American Pharoah romped the last few lengths to take the Belmont and the first Triple Crown in nearly 40 years? I've waited as long as I can remember to watch history unfold on that track. Poring over BloodHorse magazines (the only 10 year old to have a subscription, I imagine, thanks to a cousin who worked at their offices), following the glorious horses and their jockeys, aspiring to one day make that romp myself, I dreamed of seeing a great horse take the crown.
I never lived the dream of riding a champion horse (swapping it for another dream of writing) but last Saturday I got to share the winning moment with an exuberant crowd and I can't think of a more perfect experience to have etched in my memory.
Squeezing my glass of prized William Heavenhill 15 year bourbon, gathered around a television in the corner of a hangar at Bowman Field in Louisville where billowing white drapes flirted with the blue sky outdoors, my raised voice joined the roar of white and linen-clad ladies and gentlemen as the finish line came ever closer to the hooves tearing up the track. It couldn't be happening. Surely another horse would emerge from the pack and steal the lead and the glory. Our crowd leaned in closer to the screen, urging on our star, raising glasses of precious golden liquid, though thoughts of bourbon were suspended as we dared to hope.
Our shrieks reached a crescendo as that seeking nose crossed the finish. Glasses reached for the sky and one another, tears shone on cheeks, hands trembled. Was it true? Had we just seen the impossible? Strangers when we arrived at the closing night gala of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, we were brought together by this unstoppable young horse, friendships formed with rampant hugging and sealed with a toast. Bourbon splashed in glasses then made its fiery way to our hearts, igniting the celebration this night had just become.
Let the bourbon flow