I like what Christmas is about. No, not the traffic, the jammed stores, the running around like some sort of wild turkey, the commercialism, or the lack of racing.
I like the spirit of the season. It's a time when we wash away some troubles, have some decent food and exchange a few gifts with people who care about us.
In horse racing we have so many troubling issues. We speak about many of them here, and there is no need to rehash them. But are these issues so troubling that they cannot be fixed? Sometimes it seems so, but it should not be that way. Racing is a business, with good people who care about it. It is not some sort of Chinese finger puzzle.
This Christmas I want a present. I want racing to be Jabbar Collins.
Mr. Collins was a man without a high-school diploma. He had no money, no family with money, no ACLU lawyer behind him, no internet or free time, nothing; and he was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
What he did have was the triumph of human spirit. Working for over 5000 days on his case - alone - he was released from prison for being wrongly incarcerated. Today he has been hired as a paralegal by the lawyer who finally took up his case. He is a normal every day guy, just like you and me. His story is truly remarkable.
Mr. Collins with only his own mettle, worked himself out of a hole that would seem to you and me insurmountable. With nothing, many of us would simply throw up our hands and accept our fate.
Mr. Collins did not have multiple billions of slot money to help him. He did not have hundreds of thousands of passionate fans willing to help him for free. He was not backed by $1B of purse money to dip into. He did not have the ear of state representatives or a Provincial Premier to fall back on. He did not power brokers over for dinner to be lobbied or to give free advice.
He did not have that, but we do.
With such a fortunate head start our problems are easy, not impossible. If Mr. Collins looked and listened to our problems he would laugh. We fight over slices of the pie in racing, and he did not even have a slice to begin with, yet he triumphed and we falter. We need to look at our problems and laugh too, because we can fix them.
It just takes some will and some human spirit; ask Jabbar Collins.
Merry Christmas to you and your families.