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Modern Technology Kind of Wrecks Things

I read an interesting column today at Around 2 Turns. It was in regards to the American Pharoah Triple Crown, and the assorted memorabilia of such.

"Ephemera, or at least the hobby of collecting it, is dead or at least seriously unwell. Sure, a dinner menu from the Titanic or a JFK campaign poster still holds some residual value to somebody somewhere. But if Antiques Roadshow is to be believed, the market value of such things has been in steep decline for quite a few years. The pet theory here is that technology – aka, the Internet – has made such things less valuable because digital images of them are so easily obtainable. Why spend money on the real thing, when a perfectly nice digital representation of the thing is just one free click away?"

I think that's so true.

Years ago, well in the 1980's when I was getting into horse racing, I would keep a lot of things. Program pages from races, tickets, souvenirs. I did so like so many others did.

I remember when VCR's came out. We bought one, but for some reason the store shipped us two of them, and for another some reason, when alerted, they didn't pick up the extra  - no matter how many times we called - for around a year. Having two VCR's was the bomb. I taped every race that was shown, even a few stretch drives from the nightly sportscast, and with a second VCR could make a mixed highlight race tape. If my friends in school liked racing I would've been the coolest kid ever.

I cherished this tape, and still do until this day. "They" said VCR tapes would die after so many years, but they were clearly wrong. That baby still works like a charm. First Breeders Cup, check. First Breeders Crown, check. Derbies, North America Cups, a grainy stretch drive of Cam Fella running down Millers Scout, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence, check, check and check.

Today, did I tape American Pharoah's win? I don't even think I've rewatched the race (honestly, it was - other than the obvious - not exactly a barnburner.)

We can watch any race on Youtube anytime. I can buy a program. I can order archived SI's. For $20 I can buy a $2 win ticket. Surf, click mouse, buy. It's all just there, as the writer alludes.

Simulcasting is a great thing. I can bet on a horse anywhere, anytime. Wonderful. But from a from a being-a-romantic-fan of great horses point of view, it sucks.

Back in the 80's, Greenwood/Mohawk (the now Woodbine Entertainment Group) had the Canadian Pacing Derby, the North America Cup and a few other races where we'd actually get to see the horses we'd hear about. Was Call for Rain any good? Was Jate Lobell? Who knows, because we'd never get to see them. A trip to the track for these races, for a racefan, was like a four year old going to Disney World. Although Woodbine rarely attracted US Thoroughbred talent, I could get my fill of the gaiters with no issue, and it was magic.

Now, I can watch any horses career with a click of a button. Why go to the track to see them? I know what they can do, because it's old hat.

People say it's easy to be a racefan now, and they're right. We can do and see almost anything, or buy almost anything right from our home office or living room. Seeing things we have not seen before at the track is gone. We live it, bet it, watch it and rewatch it each day, we can buy it with a mouse click. The 'old days' are indeed gone. But, nostalgia has a pull. And often times I miss it.

Enjoy your day everyone.

Comments

kyle said…
Here's a similar example: The MLB All-Star Game.
JLB said…
In my carefree, single days, many moons ago (we're talking 70's and 80's), a never-before-visited track was an enticing experience. Since there was no simulcasting nor computer access, visits to Trois Rivieres,
Orangeville, Barrie, Flamboro, Vernon, Buffalo, Scarborough, Bangor, and many, many more, opened up whole new worlds for this racefan. Betting a few bucks handicapping a completely new set of lines, and breaking even, or profiting, provided much satisfaction.

Today, as you note, these are all one click away (the tracks that have survived, anyway), and the romance, combined with so many other negative factors, has fled.