It’s All About the Journey….

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 2, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Uncategorized, | Comments Off on It’s All About the Journey….

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports


Many moons ago I was a kid in the parking lot at River Downs. A nice summer job with friends I still have today. Hard to believe it’s been that long ago. But on a hot summer day, my thoughts drift back to sweating in the sun with kids who were just starting life.

All of the fellas were good folk. Pitching quarters and talking about horses we liked in the double. – It was at this time I met a small red-haired young man. He was quiet and mainly listened more than talk. He would chime in from time to time mainly reading the Daily Racing Form passing time sitting in a mail jeep we used to peruse the lots. A ballplayer who had graduated that year working a summer job attending college. Not a bad job for a young man from Cincinnati. His dad used to sell tickets in the clubhouse when he retired from teaching and coaching. Good place for fellas who enjoyed the races and talking sports. This is when I met Mick and Hep Cronin.

As I watched with sports fans from around the globe watching UCLA play a white-knuckle-down-to-wire game. – I kept thinking about that young man who would quietly read the DRF keeping to himself.- Over the summer we got to know each other and our conversations got better over time. I finally had him chattering with me about everything. No better way to stay cool in the heat.

As college and working became the majority of our time. You tend to lose touch with people you met long ago. – One of the first places I heard Mick traveled was a local high school breaking down films and cutting his teeth to be a coach. As time flew past he was a college coach in the blink of an eye. The rest is in the sports pages.

Mick was destined to be in the game. As a young man, he carried himself with an older man’s confident swagger. Not cocky, just sure of himself and the path he chose. – Hep was a well-respected coach from the Cincinnati area. He has stories upon stories of the incredible young men he brought along. Like Mick, a man of few words who did his talking where it counted.

As time expired I watched an old friend thank his players and how they believed in him as their coach. – Most of all he thanked his father. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Love you, Dad.” – In all the years I knew these fellas this may have been the only time he didn’t refer to him as Hep.

As UCLA stamped their ticket to the Final Four; I will be watching with sports fans from around the nation. – From those far away days of talking horse in the sun at River Downs to watching him take his team to the Final Four. I’m still a fan. I was long ago as he embarked on his life’s journey, and will be when they tip-off this weekend.