Monday, August 26, 2013

A (Very Short) Day at the Races

After two business trips and other challenges at work this past week, I was really looking forward to the weekend.

The last of several dogs we’ve had recently would be going home Sunday morning. That meant that Sunday afternoon would be our first weekend afternoon free of dogs all summer (other than when we went away). And while I love dogs, it would be nice to have more than an hour or two to get out of the house to do something all together as a family.

My dream is to one day take Kai to a baseball game. But I don’t think he is nearly ready for that. We rarely watch baseball games on television as he is just not interested.

But perhaps he would like something a little different. After much thought, I decided that we would try a day at the races, specifically horse racing. I thought it would be perfect; the races are very short, about two minutes each. Each race is numbered from one to nine. And the horses wear numbers while the jockeys all outfitted in different colors. After seeing how much Kai enjoyed the rodeo in Wyoming, I was very hopeful that he would love horse racing as well.

The Chicago area has a very nice racing facility at Arlington Park. It is clean, modern, comfortable, and has a nice atmosphere for young and old alike. We were all in good spirits and excited when we arrived.

There was a wide selection of food and we each got what we wanted and then made our way up to the seats.

I had put a lot of thought into the outing. I reserved seats online, carefully thinking through the best seats for us. I ended up picking seats that were in the shade, near the finish line, with a clear view of the video screen, and up high where we could see across to the other side of the track.

And when we got to our seats, I was pleased that the view was as good as I hoped it would be. Plus, being up high, we had a nice breeze that was welcome on this hot day.

We ate our lunch while we enjoyed the view and made our selections for the first race. I thought that a small wager would give Kai a rooting interest and help keep him interested. I let him pick one horse, while Mom chose the horse favored on the tip sheet.

When the horses came out, Kai peered at them through the binoculars. And he followed them as they entered the starting gate and were off.

The race was exciting, and it was fun when Mom’s horse won.

We were off to a good start.

But for some reason, Kai’s mood changed.

“I want to go home!”

Oh boy, this was not good. I told him that there were nine races.

“Nine!?! I’ll watch one more!”

I did not care if we saw all nine races, but I surely did not want to leave after seeing just one or two.

I asked him if he wanted to walk with me to the betting window. Mom asked if he wanted to go get ice cream. But all he wanted to do was go home.

I placed a small wager for the second race. And my horse won.

But Kai wasn’t excited at all. He still wanted to go home.

I debated staying and seeing if his mood would change.

But it seemed unlikely, and I really wasn’t in the mood to cajole him to have fun.

And so we left the park after seeing only two races.

My own good spirit was tattered, a victim of my own high hopes and expectations.

It is experiences like this that make me question whether to bother going out and trying new things. It is so frustrating when things don’t work out the way you plan, and you don’t exactly understand why.

Disappointments are all a part of parenting, a part of life, I suppose.

I’ll get over this one. Just give me a bit of time. Two races worth anyway.


  1. Too bad. It looked as if Kai could have really enjoyed himself there. Not even ice cream would entice him to stay longer? Kai is a tough one :)

    Actually, you and your wife left at the right time...two losses :)

    1. Haha, yes, if we had stayed longer, we surely would have paid with the lost wagers. :0


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