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The Gods Play the Ponies

In retrospect, we should have seen it coming. More than once as I flipped over to observe snatches of that ludicrous 6 ½ hour Belmont pre-race show on both ESPN and ABC, 400 minutes of hype devoted to a 2-minute race, the question popped into my head: Who is watching all of this? The answer is now abundantly clear: The Weauxf Gods were.

For the first 3-4 hours of the ESPN spectacle, my viewing of it and been confined to between innings and pitching changes during the NC State- Georgia baseball game. By the time the Pack had lived to fight another day [exactly one more, as it turned out. 10 Dawg runs in the First inning? Yikes! It seems college baseball’s RUTS Rule doesn’t apply in the Super regionals] and lack of decent programming alternatives caused me to at least keep my television tuned to the interminable coverage, one thing had become crystal clear: the only interest the Boys from Bristol had in the Belmont was as a platform to hype Big Brown.

Talking head after talking head assured us that so dominant was Big Brown that there was little point in the actual running of the race. The rest of the nags comprising what one ‘expert’ described as a ‘weak field’ were wasting their time tangling with such a magnificent thoroughbred as Big Brown. The third leg in the elusive Triple Crown was merely a formality. ESPN/ABC was not bothering to wait until Big Brown crossed the finish line before declaring him at least the equal of past winners Secretariat and Affirmed. With such universal expert opinion in 100% agreement, how could Big Brown possibly lose? Naturally, he finished last.

I had been considering that the hype might be just a bit excessive as the Big Brown coronation droned on. It wasn’t until an interview with trainer Rick Dutrow that it really hit me. Durow, a braggart who had spent the Triple Crown weeks bragging both on his horse and his exceptional training skills, took it to a new level late Saturday afternoon.

Facing the ABC cameras and wearing his trademark smirk, Dutrow uttered the magic weauxf: “I guarantee Big Brown will win.” The very next thought in my head was Weauxf Gods.

Trifling with the all-powerful Weauxf Gods always brings retribution. As Dutrow discovered, it can be terrible. When an overwhelming favorite that leaves the post carrying generally unheard of 1:4 odds along with such extreme weauxfing on his back along with the jockey, it will command the rapt attention of the Weauxf Gods. There is no power in sports that can contend with them.

The Weauxf Gods had seemed to be taking it easy since the Super Bowl, the last time they made their omnipotent presence felt. They had spent a few days reading the good old N&O prior to the Final Four and this spring having a little fun with fans of the New York Mets. But, for the most part, they looked to be in a state of relaxation, waiting out the Dead Zone with the rest of us.

Seasoned sports fans are aware that this is the best attitude for them. It is always best to let sleeping Weauxf Gods lie. Then the clown Dutrow had to open his mouth and awaken them. They made short work of the Belmont. The Weauxf Gods had not wreaked such utter devastation since Marshal Petain stood astride the Maginot Line and weauxfed, “Let the Germans come.”

Now that the Weauxf Gods are fully awake and alert, who knows from where their next vengeance might be extracted. Long suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs had best be made aware that there is a long time between now and October. Perhaps those on the West Coast need to ease up on the Kobe/Jordan comparisons. Those racing fans weauxfing that the magical union of Dale Earnhart, Jr with the Rick Hendrick organization will, eventually, produce win after NASCAR win should tone it down a bit.

And it should also be pointed out to message board loons everywhere that they are mother’s milk to the Weauxf Gods. Now that they are awake and attentive, message board posts such as ‘Wake Forest is going to dominate the ACC in football,’ ‘This Clemson team is so good even Tommy Bowden can’t screw it up’ or ‘Butch is such a great coach it’s just a matter if time’ will grab their attention, just as those made last December along the lines of ‘Tech doesn’t need much practice to beat Kansas’ did.

As we saw in the Belmont Stakes, the Weauxf Gods are never in a totally dormant state. They can be easily aroused and when they are there are terrible consequences. Don’t screw with the Weauxf Gods.

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