Saturday morning, after a typical regret-filled Friday night on the streets of downtown Little Rock, I made the monumental mistake of thinking I was physically strong enough to attend Oaklawn. I was (over) confident in my prerace studies and, more importantly, that my 25-year-old body could handle sitting in a chair and watching horses run in a circle.
I was wrong. I was so disgustingly wrong.
I'm not sure when my recovery time morphed from 4 hours to 3 days but it absolutely happened and it's a lesson I'm still learning.
We arrived at Oaklawn around 12:30 and a 2-hour long Bloody Mary later,I knew I was in some serious trouble. Seeing your horse come in last while fighting the urge to vomit on some old guy who just hit a ridiculous superfecta and is laughing in your clearly pain-filled face is a low that I don't think I've hit before.
At one point I literally bet on every horse to win so I could lock down a win. You heard that right - I bet every single horse. Mathematically it's one of the dumbest things you can do, but I didn't care about math, in fact, I couldn't even comprehend math, I just needed to lock down a win in the hopes that it would somehow make my dying body feel better.
Somewhere between the 7th-8th races, when I was alone in thought contemplating how I ended up rouge in a buddie's truck bed, the decision to attend the races went from horrible to arguably the worst decision - in a life filled with questionable ones - I have ever made.
Around that time the halftime event of the LSU - Arkansas basketball game was starting. Although I had no means of watching the event, Twitter updates were enough to make my stomach do back flips. Unless you were under a rock Saturday you know what I'm referring to. Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson, and Bill Clinton were in attendance being honored.
Let's say that again and let it sink in. Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson, and Bill Clinton were there to be honored. So instead of being on a couch somewhere, or possibly even attending the game and watching the greatness - I was in the back of a truck in pure pain all because I thought I'd be some hero and win millions of horse dollars.
I mean, can you beat that threesome? If I gave you the ability to pick any three people from the history of the world to go up against Eddie, Nolan, and Bill. Who would win? In case you don't fully appreciate the greatness I've decided to do a little breakdown of the team to help bring to light how awesome of an event this was.
Pros: Proven winner, Expert long-distance crawler, Tough as nails, Fantastic cane user
Cons: Skin Care
Pros: Bear fighter, Fantastic wardrobe, Arena builder, National Champion
Cons: I'm too out of shape to run up-tempo
When I was around 8 or 9 years old my family took a trip to Washington D.C. By way of some string pulling we were able to take a tour of the oval office. (Don't ask me how, just don't ever cross me, I know peeps) My 8-year-old self was in complete shock when Bill wasn't there. I mean, that is his office and as the President of the free world one would expect for him to be working in his office a lot. So we met with some advisers instead and after I expressed my views on long-term fiscal responsibilities we were on our way. I never got to see the President and I was devastated.
So let's fast-forward to last Saturday. I really have no doubts that if I was in that arena Bill would have come out on the court, pointed up in my general direction, and asked "Is that the kid that warned us about the dot com bubble?" And then I would be ushered down and Bill and I would basically become best friends. End of story.
Pros: Freedom, Killer blackbook, Charisma overload, Eagles, Fireworks
Can you come up with a threesome that includes: proven winner, expert crawler, bear wrangler, and freedom fighter? I doubt it. I doubt it very much. That is the greatest threesome to ever be in the same room together and instead of experiencing it I was in the back of a truck contemplating every mistake I had ever made.
So I ask you. Did I miss out on the greatest event of all time?