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.
Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.
P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.
Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).
As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.
For Red, the re-opening of Broadway's a return to better times, and even if she doesn't get to New York soon, it reminds her of falling in love with the theater – from Shakespeare to musicals, dramas to comedies – and why she majored in it at college. Yet her introduction to Broadway, which was less than 30 miles from where we grew up on Long Island, started thousands of miles away in London. At the time, Black was attending (not sure "studying" would be an accurate description) London Business School for the final semester of her M.B.A., and as Red's 16th birthday gift had her visit for a few weeks.
On one of Red's first nights in London, Black took her to the West End to see "The Crucifer of Blood" at the Haymarket (its "proper" name is the Theatre Royal Haymarket and to this day remains Red's favorite theater) starring Keith Michell. Red had avidly watched him years prior as he portrayed Henry VIII in the Masterpiece Theater series, and that night, she watched him play Sherlock Holmes on stage and,
I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Watching a live performance was magical and inspiring, and I felt like it brought all of us in the audience together. There's something very powerful about the theater "experience", and although there'll be various safety precautions, I'm excited Broadway's coming back. And I'd love to see Six, the acclaimed British musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, which was hours from its first-night opening when theaters closed.
Black remembers the first Broadway show she ever saw, Finian's Rainbow, when she was about 10-years-old. She hated it because she thought the storyline was far-fetched, and people didn't just break out in song for no apparent reason. (Obviously, she's always been pragmatic.)
Years later, Black was pursuing her M.B.A. at New York University, took an accounting class from one of the Shubert Organization founders, and was introduced to the business side of theater and immediately took an active interest. First in the history of what made Broadway, Broadway, and then she started going to the Broadway "hits" to understand what the market wanted. Looking at how Broadway continually seemed to reinvent itself to survive (there's a soon-to-be-released documentary, "On Broadway"), although it will face daunting financial odds.
And now that reinvention will include the recently signed "New Deal" where the theater industry itself (theater owners, producers, creatives, casting directors, even union leaders) has committed to reforms that will ensure equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging. Of course, Black can't help but point out the elephant in the room (or is it the elephant on stage?),
Broadway has long been known as "The Great White Way," and although it was because of all the electric white lights on the theatre marquees and billboards, there is a "politically incorrect" connotation to that phrase. However, the Broadway that closed in March 2020 will be very different when it reopens … and hopefully will be the beginning of a strong season and a bright future.