You might recognize Yvette Seger’s column from Eventing Nation, but she’ll be guest-starring on Horse Nation this week. Take it away, Yvette…
Hey there, Eventing Nation! Sorry for skipping out on you guys last week… I made a pilgrimage to the Motherland (OK, Cleveland) to do three of my favorite things: 1) teach Pony Club members all about the importance of proper horse management, and how the skills learned in this fabulous organization will not only prepare them to be awesome horse people, but pretty much awesome at anything they want to do in life (you know, like, *ahem* become a science policy diva who likes to ride around in Wal-Mart shopping carts while wearing a helmet cam…), 2) spend money at my favorite hometown tack shop, and 3) root, root, root for the home team on Opening Day. Based on the current state of my bank account, I would have to say that I achieved the most success with the second item, but even with my beloved Cleveland Indians turning in a loss, I would say it was a fun and successful trip.
On the surface, it may not seem like there are many parallels between baseball and eventing, but if you starting thinking about it, there are quite a few. For instance, grounds crews spend hours preparing the field for play (I nearly got dizzy just watching one crew member make 5m voltes to drag every square inch of the baselines) only to have players tear it up with their cleats (Studs anyone? And what about that horse that just has to poop on the jump?) Similarly, both sports maintain scorecards that are completely obtuse to those outside the sport, concessions options are limited and overpriced, and players wear funny and less than flattering pants…I could continue, but I think you get the point.
My favorite part of the baseball game – well, second only to the hot dog races – is the music. I mean, there’s really nothing quite like a bunch of old geezers slurring the words to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and then busting into a spastic version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” It can range from highly entertaining to mentally scarring, actually. But without a doubt, the best music at the ballgame is the 20 to 30 second clips that players themselves select as their “at bat” music. Many players from Central or South America select salsa/merengue tunes that make you want to dance in your seat. Younger players tend to pick hip-hop tunes that involve a lot of bleeping to keep it family friendly. And then there’s always the outlier who picks Kelly Clarkson. Nothing against the original American Idol, but…yeah…I found that one a bit confusing…
Although eventers aren’t lucky enough to have special “on deck” music playing out loud as we await the 10 second countdown at the start box, I’m guessing that a good portion of you have a theme song that you play in your head to get you pumped. The theme song for my mild-mannered 24 year old retiree, Roger Rabbit? None other than N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton.” The theme song for my 14-hand flamethrower continues to evolve, and we’ve recently transitioned from Skee-Lo’s “I Wish,” to T.I./Jay-Z/MIA’s “Swagga Like Us,” to our current selection of Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” (Yeah, I listen to a lot of hip-hop. Sue me.) And I have been known to recite lyrics while on course (at least that’s my story if I ever get busted for language on course…) Anyway, the point of this whole meandering comparison of baseball to eventing is to lead you to this week’s tip:
Tip for Eventers Living in Itty-Bitty Apartments in the City #34:
I cannot stress the importance of having a “Start Box Song” that gets you in the right state of mind for cross-country. If you find cross-country a little bit terrifying, you might do better with a song that is zen and calming, and likely references to “soaring” and “flight” rather than a song like Dave Matthews Band’s unfortunately titled “Crash.” Having trouble keeping maintaining your pace and tired of getting time faults? A wise start box song selection can help correct that, too! The best part about a well-chosen start box song is that you can also use it to get pumped up for important work meetings; just be forewarned that unless your day job is actually involves training horses, wearing your helmet and/or safety vest to these meetings might be seen as…um…odd.
No Sleep ‘Til Rolex!