Friday, April 9, 2004

Friday April 9, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

Triple Crown, Part II

(See previous entry.)

The winner is Mike Sullivan, far and away.

An essay, by Sullivan’s son,
from Harper’s magazine, Oct. 2002 —

Horseman, Pass By:
Glory, Grief, and the Race for
the Triple Crown

by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Far back, far back in our dark soul
the horse prances.

— D. H. Lawrence  

“As opposed to the typical sportswriter, who has a passion for the subject and can put together a sentence, my father’s ambition had been to Write (poetry, no less), and sports were what he knew, so he sort of stumbled onto making his living that way….

Two years ago, in May, I sat with him in his hospital room at Riverside Methodist, in Columbus….

I asked him to tell me what he remembered from all those years of writing about sports, for he had seen some things in his time…. This is what he told me:

I was at Secretariat’s Derby, in ’73, the year before you were born — I don’t guess you were even conceived yet. That was … just beauty, you know?  He started in last place, which he tended to do. I was covering the second-place horse, which wound up being Sham. It looked like Sham’s race going into the last turn, I think. The thing you have to understand is that Sham was fast, a beautiful horse. He would have had the Triple Crown in another year. And it just didn’t seem like there could be anything faster than that. Everybody was watching him. It was over, more or less. And all of a sudden there was this … like, just a disruption in the corner of your eye, in your peripheral vision. And then before you could make out what it was, here Secretariat came. And then Secretariat had passed him. No one had ever seen anything run like that–a lot of the old guys said the same thing. It was like he was some other animal out there …

I wrote that down when I got back to my father’s apartment, where my younger sister and I were staying the night. He lived two more months, but that was the last time I saw him alive.”

Thanks to the New York Times for today’s review of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s new book, which includes the above.

See, too,

Words Are Events.

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