on the race track thank you very much.
I have no time for horse racing. I don't think it is a "sport". I think it amounts to animal cruelty. I would have it banned if I could - along with a number of other things labelled "sport".
But, that said, yesterday was a moment for a certain amount of amusement. A female jockey won the Melbourne Cup. What is more a female jockey won the Melbourne Cup on a rank outsider.
I suspect that there are still some male jockeys smarting at the dressing down they will have been given by trainers and owners. "You let a woman beat you?!!!!"
Too bad. It just showed a woman could do the job every bit as well as, and in this case better, than a male. It also showed that gambling, especially betting on the horses, is about losing money.
As a teenager I used to go to a summer camp organised by the Guides. It was held on the grounds of a race track in the hills behind the city. We would take children with a wide range of physical disabilities off to camp for a week.
In the very early mornings those children who could get out of their "beds" alone would often be found sitting next to the actual track watching the horses being exercised. The horses would be going around and around and around.
I remember one of the boys, about nine or ten, asking me, "Don't they get bored?"
My careful answer was, "The horses know it's their job."
He seemed to be satisfied with that. I don't think I was lying to him. I don't know what or how horses think. They probably think in images. They must "know" in a certain way. Some people claim horses "like" racing. I doubt that but perhaps they have some sense of what is expected of them?
I was with the child though. It must be boring. Human runners must get bored too. I went to university with a boy who had ditched training as a swimmer. He had been told he had Olympic potential but the hours "spent staring at the bottom of the pool" were not for him. It takes a different sort of individual to handle it.
But women can handle it all just as well as men. The girl who did it yesterday didn't mind saying so either. You could see some of the men itching to ignore her and concentrate on the horse and the trainer and the owners. The post-race speeches sounded like that. It took the Governor-General to eventually bring her to the front and say something aside from his prepared speech. Perhaps it did hit home then. The media started to make a fuss.
But we shouldn't need to make a fuss. It should be considered a normal achievement. Being male or female shouldn't come into it.
I was far more impressed by the jockey's brother. He is a strapper in the stable she was riding for. He had no doubts at all. He knew his sister could do it. He has probably never given much, if any, thought to whether there are any differences in what males and females can achieve.
We can learn a lot from someone with Down's syndrome. Thanks Stevie Payne. Your sister is right too. Girls can do anything.