There is a distinct similarity between the lack of hope that existed in 1938 during the Great Depression, and the lack of hope that exists in the United States today. Back then, a horserace changed everything.
It was a match race between the undersized Thoroughbred Seabiscuit against the mighty thoroughbred War Admiral who was considered a shoo-in to win Triple Crown. by 4 gaping lengths. A great example that life sometimes seems like a horse race, where we always seem to be racing to our own finish line.
Seabiscuit didn’t look like much-small in stature, inauspicious, and the butt of stable jokes. He did however possess the heart of a champion that held the hope of the sea of humanity that watched the race that day at Pimlico from both sides of the track. Forty thousand hopeful Americans and millions all over the globe were glued to the radio.
This one event was the most electrifying and popular event in sports history in 1938, making it the most popular news story of that day ahead of FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini.
What happened at that racetrack that day was not supposed to happen. War Admiral, one of the quickest break-away horses of his day, was supposed to take the early lead and finish the race with Seabiscuit only getting a glimpse of Admiral’s hindquarters. Instead, it was Seabiscuit who took the early lead and when they were neck and neck in the home stretch, the famed jockey George Woolf took the lead knowing Seabiscuit would not yield his destiny.
He turned and looked back at the heavily War Admiral and coined the iconic phrase “so long Charlie”. Seabiscuit would not yield his destiny. It was his heart that took him across the finish line by four gaping lengths.
Seabiscuit secured the hope for all Americans that even a small person can overcome the odds and skepticism of the few, and find the heart and endurance to win the big race. Maybe today we will need another great horse race to bring us the hope we need because it seems a Presidential race will not foster the leadership that will lead us to the finish line as the immortal Seabiscuit did.
Today it seems more like a neck-and-neck “rat race”.
Our own destiny will show if we are winners.