Perhaps I am naïve in matters of polls. For certain, I often wonder about those constant presidential polls with which we are bombarded. Should we be swayed or even care about them? And then there are presidential elections – the one candidate may get the popular vote but by the time the Electoral College is through, it’s the opponent that may actually become President. I hate that – and it’s not at all unlike the online poll taken by Sports Illustrated to let the public select the athletic hero of the year. The public spoke but SI did not listen.
At the onset of the online voting bit, I wondered about the horse and the rest of the competitors who, of course, were all humans. A knowledgeable sports lover explained to me that those in the running were picked on merit, sportsmanship, and a host of other noble attributes notwithstanding their world famous athleticism. Then it made more sense to me how a horse was put in the running. I mean, athleticism is personified in the athlete that is Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. He is truly outstanding and reaches his athletic pinnacle with a human partner, his rider, as they teamwork together with brains, talents, brawn and a smidge of luck as they race to victory. So yes, this horse needs a human to complete his athletic superiority. And trust what you already know, Sports Illustrated, American Pharoah has top notch humans in his arsenal.
To be sure, American Pharoah established himself as the hope of a huge public following. People everywhere were drawn to this horse and cheered for him. He ran with the hearts and anticipation of millions and built a gigantic fan base. And when it came to the running of the Belmont Stakes for the Triple Crown, this intuitive three-year-old colt ran for our country and for the record. He brought home the prize. In hindsight we can all see how much of himself he gave with that arduous journey to the crown when he fell short of the win in the Travers Stakes. He came back like a champion in the Classic Breeders’ Cup. American Pharoah amply proved that he is an athletic sportsman.
Along with many, I register my disappointment in the award snub. My thoughts linger with the online poll. Was it held simply to stir up controversy? Why did SI state American Pharoah’s eligibility for the award in a short video in the first place? In retrospect, I believe all my current misgivings about the whole business of the award are correct. SI intended the controversy, sought to draw in more people with the votes, hoped to sell more magazines, and planned from the outset to nix the horse. Obviously, a great many people fell into the trap. I don’t like double dealing or outright dishonesty, and I think we have some of that going on in this whole thing.
Obviously, American Pharoah polled better than any human athletes in the running. The results of the poll clearly point out SI’s sort of “bait and switch” tactic since the intent always was not to award American Pharoah with the title. I mean, he was a horse when he was nominated and remained one after winning. Either he was eligible or he was not.
All this opinion aside, congratulations are in order to all those nominees and the very deserving winner.
And the rest of the story is that American Pharoah is my personal award winner. I will intently watch his breeding shed exploits with the fervent hope that he outshines all expectations and will remain forever special.