And you thought flunking a test at school was a big deal?!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We know that cheating has been around forever, but somehow when it comes to sports, it seems so shocking (not to mention, so unsportsmanlike), especially when you stop to consider the ripple effect.
It all began on a beautiful Saturday at Churchill Downs, with roses and a victory for Medina Spirit, and the seventh Kentucky Derby win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. And as is usually the case, while still celebrating the win, the focus quickly turns to the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Until … the breaking news that the thoroughbred had failed its post-race drug test, which, if not shocking enough, was the fifth horse trained by Baffert to have failed a drug test in just over a year.
Initially, Red had little more than a passing interest in the story, although it sounded like a movie script, complete with denials, a potential "conspiracy theory" raised by the trainer, and hopes riding (pun intended) on the results of the second drug test. But when Black mentioned the post-race drama, it caused an unexpected reaction in Red,
As the mother of a very competitive volleyball player, I totally understand the desire to win. But what I don't understand is feeling compelled to go to any length to win. Sawyer works extra hard – both on and off the court – to be the best she can be. I'm not being naïve but isn't sports about competing to be the best, and I don't mean best cheater? And I'd think the greater you are, the more you're risking.
Black pointed out that cheating at sports isn't new. And, doping goes back almost a hundred years, and although it's been banned for decades, that hasn't stopped athletes from trying to get away with it. Probably the most notorious being cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was not only stripped of his seven Tour de France titles but also banned for life from competitive cycling.
However, Black couldn't help but have a different perspective, one focused on winners and losers,
I fully understand your perspective, especially as you were a straight-A student who worked hard for your grades. (Ok, I used negotiating skills. Which, technically, was not cheating.) But this is about more than who won the Kentucky Derby. If Medina Spirit is stripped of the title, the $1.86 million winning purse will go to the horse that currently finished second (Mandaloun, who is not running at the Preakness, so no chance at the Triple Crown), but there will no change to the millions of dollars of bets placed. Once the race is declared official, all bets are final.
Every day should be a day to celebrate and appreciate teachers, but today's the official day to do so!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red was a straight-A student, so more often than not, the teacher's pet, while Black was, well, often a discipline problem, so it's no wonder that we'd think about teachers differently, or do we?
Growing up, teachers often asked Red if she was Black's younger sister, which was almost a "trick question" but she quickly learned which teachers she could be honest with and which ones the truth might put her at a disadvantage. Red, of course, would never lie, so instead would sidestep the issue by saying, "Funny, people have asked me that before." Lucky for Red, we had a common last name and didn't look at all alike.
But it's definitely safe to say that we never appreciated teachers as much as we did the first day we walked into a classroom at KIPP Houston High School as volunteer teachers. Black had committed us (that's a story onto itself) into developing – and teaching – a semester-long personal finance and Life 101 course for the senior class. And during the spring semester, no less. Talk about a tough audience!
Which is why Black left that day admitting that she owed every teacher she ever had an apology! And her respect and admiration for teachers only grew stronger. And why, many years later, as we celebrate teachers on National Teacher Day,
Teachers are the future of our children, and although I never fully appreciated what they did until I was standing in front of a classroom of students, I have always felt that we entrust our teachers with our children – our future – but do not always give them the resources and support they deserve, on top of them often being overworked and underpaid.
Red was always the appreciative student, and later the grateful parent, but after our detour into the world of education has a new perspective, and would love to see significant changes. Meanwhile, she's thrilled that there are so many ways that teachers can be celebrated and appreciated not only today and throughout Teacher Appreciation Week, but year-round. So, at the very least, send a note of thanks, in either your own words or, if you're one of those people that always feel that "someone else said it better", you can always "borrow" a teacher appreciation quote!
Thoroughbreds, mint juleps, and fancy hats – yes, it's the Kentucky Derby!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's one of the most famous horse races in America and known throughout the world, and although we've known about this historic sporting event since we were children, we have very different "memories" of the Kentucky Derby.
Growing up, the only sport Red watched on TV on a regular basis was golf, but that was as much about spending time with our dad as it was a love of the game. But she did watch the Kentucky Derby, although she and our dad would tune in just in time for the race since they didn't really know much about thoroughbred race horsing nor really cared to learn.
Years, no make that decades later, Red "re-discovered" the Kentucky Derby by watching the movie "Secretariat," which captivated her with its dramatic story of a horse (and its remarkable female owner, Penny Chenery) that overcomes the odds to not only become the first winner of The Triple Crown in 25 years but to become one (and to some, the) greatest racehorses of all times.
And Black? For as long as she can remember, horse racing was about math and statistics, and understanding the odds. We grew up on Long Island, less than 15 miles from Roosevelt Raceway, and she had a friend who worked in the stables who would share "tips" about who was going to win with her. She wasn't interested in gambling, but harness racing was fraught with rumors of races being "fixed" and that side of racing intrigued her, as did the business aspects.
Over the years, Black has been amused by "Kentucky Derby" parties where people dress up and drink mint juleps (it has a fascinating history), with the two minutes of racing merely an interruption. However, this year's race got her attention (thanks, Axios) because of five college friends whose horse is running the Kentucky Derby, all because they wanted, not to own a racehorse, but to find a way to continue their friendship after graduation. So, Black may actually watch the race this year, and root for "Hot Rod Charlie," regardless of the odds.