Are The Good Times Really Over For Good?

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 5, 2015 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

I’m a country music fan, and by title alone. I’ll bet you you’re dialed in I like Merle Haggard. Take a look at the words of one of his biggest hits, and you’ll start to question if he feels the good times are over for good.

Are we rolling down hill
Like a snowball headed for Hell?
With no kind of chance
For the Flag or the Liberty Bell.

Wish a Ford and a Chevy
Could still  last ten years, like they should
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?

I grew up in possibly one of the last simple times. People didn’t sit in the same room rolling on a cell phone, and if you wanted to talk to your friends, you had to pedal your bike and hope to catch them. Things have gotten so fast, and our attention spans have shrunk 50% over the last decade according to Brandon – For adults, the average attention span for watching a video is 10 seconds for 89.61% of the population. That’s incredible, and sad all at once. In the Shawshank Redemption, when Brooks said, “The world has gone an gotten itself in a big damn hurry.” Those words hold more truth than ever. – 25% of young people forget the names of family and close friends, the average office worker checks their inbox 30-40 times an hour, and members spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month.

The Haggard song got me thinking about going to the races. Getting ready, the drive out, the planning, the events of the day, and of course the ride home where we could talk about the races. Why the decline? It’s still good stuff, and now more than ever the powers that be are cranking down on the offenders. So why give up on the ponies? Easy, it’s not fast enough. I’ve watched with amazement as people feed video poker machines so quickly they don’t get up for a restroom break, and some forget to eat. Now, I’ve waited a race or two to grab my hot dog and soda, but I usually get there. That is one sure winner for the day.

This years Super Bowl wagering was the 2nd all-time figure for Las Vegas. Over half the households in America tuned in putting the figure around 112 million. The big game is a big money venture, and outside of  Vegas has multi-billion dollar illegal wagering going on. My question is how many people hit it big on the game? Now, factor in the 10% juice, or the cost of making the wager. If you would like to win $100, it will cost you $110. If you’re Floyd Mayweather and bet $5 million, it’s possible to win big. Or, you’ll be lining up on the bridge if the Seahawks ran Lynch on the 1 yard line to beat the Pats. But, I digress. People love sports, and handicapping the game is high on our gambling list. Is it the best way to take a shot? No.

The lottery windows are on-fire when Powerball goes into the stratosphere. But, what are your chances of being Bill Gates? The Powerball roars to over $317 million for tomorrows drawing as you take your $100 and go for the gusto. Your odds are only 175 million to 1. I loved the article where they said if you put 2,533 tickets on every seat at the 69,000 Lincoln Financial Field, odds are there may be one winning ticket. Is this a good bet for your $100? Nope.

Now, let’s take the same $100 to the track. We have ten races to play, and we’ll give ourselves $10 per race to wager. There are 20 minutes in between races to walk around, handicap, or grab a beer. We can walk down to the paddock to see the ponies, make a bet, and root like crazy for the fastest two minutes in sports. I think you’re getting the idea. I like to enjoy wagering, and not think of as a fast food, or a hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. It makes for a day out. We can talk, walk around, study, or you can even play with your cell phone and watch a 10 second video. Slow down and enjoy the day. Slow down and experience the thrill of a wager you’ve selected. Take-it-all-in, and you won’t feel like you went ten rounds with the champ at the end of the day. I’ve played cards, roulette, keno, craps, slots, blackjack, pai-gow poker, and even played the big six wheel. Yep, I have pretty much bet it all. I love football, and even tossed my hat in the ring every Saturday and Sunday throughout the season. But with all of this action, there is nothing that compares to the beauty and pageantry of racing.

You can win, and some even win really big without betting their house. There is a sense of history. Walk into a casino and you smell fresh air being pumped in, but at the track it is a whole different experience. It grabs you and pulls you in. Not like the lottery terminals or slot machines. As you walk into the track, your senses are in full-bloom. There is bang for your buck, your money goes farther, the enjoyment lasts for hours, and I have to ask if you’ve ever watched as someone jump and cheer for a slot machine for two minutes straight? Me neither. Let’s go to the races; the good times aren’t over for good!