If there was ever a sporting event exemplifying tenacity, it is the race run by the gallant horse Rich Strike, who beat 80-1 odds in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby to win the roses. Both Rich Strike and the man who sat on his back — Sonny Leon (whose name sounds more like a mob consigliere than a jockey) — took Winston Churchill’s famous words to heart. They nevah, nevah, nevah gave up. Though the horse was in 17th place as the two athletes rounded the last turn, they snuck from behind to win the whole shebang. The sound you heard was that of jaws dropping.
Oh, and joyous cheering from that one guy who bet on Rich Strike, but only because it was his neighbor’s cousin’s best friend’s horse.
I should use Rich Strike as my role model. Look up throw in the towel in the dictionary and you will see my face. Well, actually you probably wouldn’t find the phrase throw in the towel in the dictionary, but you get my meaning. I am guilty of giving up without even a serious try.
Bill, of course, is the total opposite of me in this regard (and many other regards). He and Rich Strike are twin sons of different mothers. (Admittedly, Rich Strike is tired of Bill saying “why the long face?” at family dinners.) Bill is patient, determined, tenacious. He will continue to work on something until either he gets it right or it becomes inarguably apparent that it isn’t going to work or he isn’t going to be able to figure it out. Even more shocking, he almost always does so without a single cuss word. Long after I have begun my ranting that he should just give it up, he is patiently continuing to work.
This determination made him very good at his job of lobbying the Colorado State Legislature. He would try an argument for or against a bill, and if it didn’t work, he didn’t give up. He just went back to the drawing board and thought of a new tactic. That’s basically what Rich Strike and Sonny Leon did to win the race. Even when it appeared they didn’t have chance in hell to win (after all, they wouldn’t even have been in the race if another horse hadn’t scratched the day before), they saw an opportunity in the last part of the race to cut inside. After that, it was bye-bye to the favorites and hello to the ring of roses.
Determination wins the race. It also can get you pretty far in life if you give it a chance.