Every team has one, and there is only one on a ship. All sports teams have them, and any organization that looks to a leader needs one. I knew one. He was one of the last of his kind, and I don’t think they make them like him anymore.
“They don’t teach it in night school, and you can’t catch up late.” That would have been a line from one of the smoothest characters that I have ever met at the track. You have heard my tales of colorful people. But this guy was smooth. He dressed to the nines, and walked like he owned the track. He sat at the table of the biggest player at the track, and was his personal advisor on when, who, and what to bet. He kept the wheels moving. This was how he made his living. He was the guy you saw to get things done. But, he only did it for the biggies at the track. When he left, he did it for everyone. He was an enigma. He is known as “Spivey.”
Do you remember how “The Rat Pack” had their own lingo? Well, so did the Spive…. He could talk you into spotting him a hundo and in about a half an hour, he would bring you back two, or he would tell you that it’s the breaks of the game kid. He was smooth personified. He could get millionaires to make a huge pick-six, and then they would want to give him an equal share. That was Spive… He made things happen.
Every once in a while, you would see that wry little grin. You saw a rare glimpse of the man. When he was at the track, he was at the office. It was business time, and there was no time for lunch. Only coffee, and he would bring the guys back a round of java….
I was bitching up a storm one day, and he looked at me and said: “save your breath kid, you’ll live ten years longer.” He was right… It was time to shut up…. When the crew of whales would lose a lump of cash, Spive felt the blow harder than any of them…. It was like a firm having a downward turn on the market. Nothing personal, this was his business, and he was good……
I sometimes called him “The Captain.” He probably hated it, but he would have never bitched. He never let you see him sweat. He had business to tend. Spive was the last of his kind. He enjoyed what he did, and cared about all. He could get the private room cheering about one horse, and when he would win…. Well, Spive had the floor……
I once saw him in the plush private room where guests were invited. The biggest players only, and Spive had all-access to everywhere. It went without saying… One day, he talked about this horse who was 10-1 at California. He had a friend who was a big time trainer, and Spive brought the message to the boys… The room was electric as he turned for home five in front, and he never looked back… It was at that time, Spive hit the door as he grabbed his coat and said, “that’s what I do boys.” It was the perfect exit, as he put on his leather coat and grabbed the DRF for the next day. This day had come to an end, and tomorrow was a new day…. I have never met a man like Spive, and I doubt I ever will. There was only one, and they broke the mold after he made the scene.