We have heard the old saying. I guess it holds true, and for everyone that has worked in a field where they love the what they do, it is true….
For me, I started pitching pennies in the boys’ room. It wasn’t about the big gamble, but for the action… It came, and it never left….
When I started in high school, I used to save my lunch money and walk home during lunch and eat whatever was there. I wanted to keep that $2 a day my dad would give me, and I would have $10 on Saturday to go out and play the feature race. He had a few rules: make good grades, don’t get in trouble with the law, and don’t ever get involved with drugs. Well, they were easy. For this slam dunk, I would get a $20 a week allowance to go play the races. I had a beat-up car, and the option to go see the races. Life was good…..
All of my first dates went to the races. Well, if not all, make that 90%. If they would win a couple of bucks, you could bet I was 6-5 at a second date. If they lost, I was a big loser long-shot… I guess this was test to see if the gal really liked me…. Hell, I just wanted to go….
I began my work in the parking lot. I was a young lad, and I started with many fellas. Three are doctors, one judge, and one coaches a MAJOR D-1 basketball program. You call them the Bearcats… I stayed as others came and went, and worked my way up during college. I graduated with a degree in education, but my masters came in the way of loving racing.
I have held practically every job at the track. I have never sold mutuel tickets, and that is probably a good thing. I would have been broke… I feel this has given me a full perspective on the business. Some are born with mom and dad holding the big job and they sneak in the back door. I went the long way, and I am better off for putting my time in the old fashioned way. I know marketing, admissions, customer service, parking cars, printing, and how to do radio and TV. I have to say that I am lucky. I just hope my luck holds out. I have met every possible person in the game that has a title. Sometimes, I parked their car, and years later, sat in meetings exchanging ideas.
What does the next year hold? We used to talk about the future, but now we just talk about the next year. Some tracks go week to week… We used to be “Kings of the Hill” and won as we were the only game in town. But, it will take mucho work and trying new things that have never been tossed around. I think we will make it. Many of us will lose our jobs before we land on our feet. But just hang in there if you love the sport. It is the sport of kings, and it will make a comeback.
Take it from the guy who parked your car and got to know you better each and every time you came in. I know a bit about the game. It will live. It is only getting a standing eight count right now…..