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motivation to walk : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog: Triple Crown winner brings back memories

I silently watched the Belmont Stakes June 9th. I watched Justify take the lead and waited. It takes quite a horse to take the lead of this race and hold on all the way around the track. The Belmont Stakes is the longest race of the Triple Crown. It has defeated any number of contenders over the years. A lot has to do with the length of the race–a mile and a half. American horses aren’t used to endurance races and this last race of the Triple Crown tests a horse’s mettle in ways the other races do not.

The Kentucky Derby is the race that always carries uncertainty. There have been many popular horses beaten by horses not given much chance. This year, Justify won it in good form. The Preakness is the shortest race and goes to speed horses. Justify pulled out a win, but appeared to be working for it.

Every year, I try to clear my schedule to watch the three Triple Crown races. I do not gamble. I don’t even check out the horses as closely as I once did when I was younger. Still, there is something about the thrill of watching the horses stretch out those legs as they thunder down the track.

I’ve known too many a hopeful lose the final race by trying to stay out in front only to falter and fade because they could not sustain the speed and endurance required for such a long race. As a teen when I was all about horses and listened on my little radio, I somehow started identifying with those horses. Wins and losses mirrored my own journey with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was in pain, lost my ability to walk and so much more. But I didn’t give up.

My last year of college, my mother died unexpectedly December 24th. I entered the new year deep in grief. Yet the new year also brought hope of reconstructive surgery to, with joint replacements, straighten my legs and restore my ability to walk. But the whole concept was little more than an idea with no guarantee.

That was the year Secretariat took command of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He then sauntered home in the Belmont Stakes far ahead of the rest of the other horses. To me, it was more than a race. That win gave me encouragement that my situation might also turn out well. I endured lots of surgery, lots of recovery and lots of therapy and relearning to walk, but within a year, I was walking–without braces or crutches.

Watching Justify win the Triple Crown reminded me of that time and how one race gave me the motivation to fight and win my own race to walk again. Like Justify’s jockey, I am grateful for God’s blessings, however they arrive–even with a nose over the finish line.

By Carolyn R Scheidies
(Published in the Kearney Hub 7/16/2018)

Read more in my autobiography The Day Secretariat Won The Triple Crown

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