The Melbourne Cup - Much Ado About Nothing

02 November 2005
Well, the Melbourne Cup has been run and won for another year. If you want to get an idea of all the hype there was, see here. Me, I was utterly nonplussed by the whole event. First of all, because I don't gamble, ever (sorry to be a wowser...but I think that if there's one thing on Earth that truly is a sin, it's gambling. Okay, bigotry and gambling).  But secondly, because of what I've come to know as my Melbourne Cup day curse. Every year since at least 1995, something terrible has happened to me on Melbourne Cup day. It's some to reach the stage where it's almost like a dear old enemy; yesterday it came along like clockwork as usual, in the form of a very nasty situation at work, in which I'm being blamed for a large problem not of my causing; I know who the real culprit is, but can't really do anything, not being much of a snitch. Anyway, yesterday wasn't a good day, and as usual I missed the race.

But really my point, as I alluded to in the title, is all the fuss made over the race. Sure it may be "the race that stops a nation" - the shopping centre I was in yesterday was deserted an hour before the cup started - but how many people really care, as opposed to those who just feel they have to watch it because everyone else is doing it? I've always thought that it's more about media hype. Here's a hypothetical: imagine if the annual opening of parliament (for example) received saturation media coverage in the lead-up to the event, and people could place bets on, oh I don't know, which MP had the ugliest tie, and everyone gathered in pubs, restaurants and had functions to celebrate the big event?

What's more, is what's with all this "hero" business? Makybe Diva is a horse, not a hero. She runs as fast as she can because she gets the crap flogged out of her. Sure, she may be physiologically superbly bred to produce very great racing times...but that does not fit the definition of a "hero" by any definition that I've ever believed that word to mean.

Similarly saying a jockey had "a great/heroic ride". Actually, I've often wondered about that. Jockeys are apprenticed for four years. What are they taught that takes so long to learn? I imagine first day at jockey school:
"Okay little guys, listen up. This morning, you learn how to sit on the horse. This afternoon, we learn how to whip the horse. This evening, you get off the horse and go home. Come back in three years and eleven months, and we'll give you your diplomas."

Okay, I'll get off my high horse now...


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