Monday, May 4, 2009

The Derby

I watched the ponies run this weekend with some good friends over beers and pizza. Someone asked this hypothetical question: “Would you rather go to the Kentucky Derby or the Indy 500?” Since none of us are fans of racing, equine or automobile, we all understood that the venue’s atmosphere would be the only thing to consider. More specifically, we were interested in the talent-level and attire of the spectators. At least for me, this question is best posed to the single, early-to-mid twenties me as opposed to the married, about to have a kid, mid-thirties me.

That being said, we all picked the Derby.

As NBC scanned the crowd, we saw a lot of dresses and big hats. The really disappointing aspect of the Derby, at least this year, was the weather. As we all know, hot, sunny weather (and scores of Mint Juleps) brings out the weaponry. Because of the rain, it seemed, to me anyway, that the crowd held back a bit. Don’t get me wrong, we still saw some things that still enticed us to go, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel letdown.

Maybe we’ll get together during the Indy 500 to see what there is to see there. As I said on Saturday, I’d expect to see a lot of Daisy Duke-esque jean shorts with the insides of the front pockets visibly sticking out. Tube tops and half shirts would also rule the day. Hmmm. Why did we all choose the Derby again? I guess that’s not fair because I’m told the infield in both places sport the same cast of characters. I suppose the difference I’m speaking about are in the actual seats (or luxury boxes in Kentucky).

There’s another element at work here that goes hand-in-hand with the talent issue that may increase or decrease your level of viewing enjoyment. That element is the talent’s date, otherwise known as husband or boyfriend of the talent. Answer me this, of these two profiles who are you more afraid of?

  1. Drunk guy (off of Busch Light), age 22-35, crappy manual labor job, wearing 501s and an Urlacher jersey, sunburned, mad at the world, jealous of everyone.

  2. Drunk guy (off of life and Mint Juleps), age 40-50, mutual fund manager (they still get paid, a lot), wearing a seersucker suit, spa-treatment skin, pleased with himself and his place in the world, apathetic (at best) toward everyone.

I’d fear No. 1 simply because he’s got absolutely nothing to lose by picking a fight with you for looking in the direction of his “special lady.” No. 2 would probably be so distracted by the scent of his own cash that he wouldn’t even notice if you switched hats with his date. Also, it’s likely that you could simply give No. 2 two for flinching, of course, he may have bodyguards, which changes things, but only slightly. Edge to the Derby, yet again.

Incidentally, I demand to know why NBC didn’t find out the reason behind Michael Jordan’s suit and why didn’t we get a full body shot on TV. We saw that preposterous jacket and tie, but we never got to see the suit in its full shoulder to feet glory. That thing looked like it came from Leroy’s Menswear on 3rd and Pike in Seattle.

One last thing about the race, which was interesting, but maybe due more to the jockey than the actual race itself. First, are all jockeys cocky? I don’t know who Calvin Borel was pointing at, but I’d like to think he was doing the equivalent of a Deion Sanders high stepping to the end zone. If so, god bless Calvin Borel because that was awesome. There’s nothing like a 4’10 guy telling other 4’10 guys that they can’t touch this.

Speaking of Borel, does he or does he not look like Gollum? My buddy Kevin and I thought of that at the same time on Saturday. I vote yes, but with a few caveats. Gollum may have been taller. Gollum clearly has upper teeth, whereas it’s unclear if Borel has any. I could understand Gollum a little more clearly than I can understand Borel; his animated Cajun twang was nearly indecipherable. One last thing, Chris noted that in addition to Gollum, he looks like the late Jim Varney of Earnest Goes to __ fame. By the way, take a look at how many of those Earnest movies were made That’s a startling amount of films for something so preposterous. One last thing about the broadcast, aside from the Olympic gymnastics, Bob Costas must love covering horseracing. These are the only times when he completely dwarf his interview subjects.

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