Those long drive reflections...
Nothing seems longer than that lonely late-night drive home alone after the rodeo...when you didn't pull a cheque. Part of my reflection on this drive was: is it better to have a faster time, but knock a barrel? Or have a clean run with a slower time that didn't put you where you needed to be....
Both scenarios suck.
I had some great conversation with a friend at this rodeo. One thing she said to me is 'You know...this whole barrel racing thing is so manic. One minute you're winning and the next you're at rock bottom and can't pull a cheque to save your life.'
Girl. Ain't that the truth.
I have to say a huge thank you to the girl standing at the gate at this rodeo. Who was she? I couldn't tell ya.
I went in there, game face on, Grinchy was ready. She's in rockstar shape. She just got her feet done. She had all her voodoo mix (my concoction of herbs - some to make her feel good, some to help with mare things, some to help her breathe better). She wore her nebulizer,..she hates that damn thing but she wore it anyway. Every little bit helps, right?
I told her "She's the best one" and kissed her on the nose....like I do before every run.
The announcer called our name. Grinchy's ears were up, I patted her on the neck, gathered up my reins, and in we went. and Grinch was her honest self. Tried her heart out. Ran her legs off. Gave me all she could. I couldn't be mad at a single thing...but my time just wasn't fast enough to pull a cheque.
I tried to hide my feelings of defeat. I gave Grinchy big ol pet like she deserves. I told her "She's the best one" as I walked out the gate...like I always do. She did her job, she doesn't know what those other horses times were.
The same girl at the gate? I heard her say "Good run!" as I was walking out...I thanked her, but kept my head down. I felt defeated. We worked hard, but it wasn't good enough. But that same girl repeated herself. It was almost like she could feel my disappointment. She said to me "Nice work sister, that was AWESOME. You should be proud!". This time, I looked up. I looked her right in the eye. She was smiling. I couldn't help but smile too. This time, while keeping that eye contact, I said to her "Thank you so much!". I don't know if she could see it, but I had some tears welling up in my eyes.
I think God put that girl there that night. And I wish I could find her now and give her the biggest hug. I think for whatever reason, she could see in me those million feelings I was experiencing. She could see I couldn't hardly afford those entry fees, but I paid anyway. She could see I was tired and didn't want to drive 4 hours to that rodeo, but I did anyway. She could see my love for that horse, who tried her absolute guts out for me, but just didn't quite clock up. And she could see my want, my desire, how BAD I wanted to win that damn rodeo...
That girl reminded me of something huge. We all work SO HARD to compete in this sport. We all want it. We all devote everything to it. But there is something out of our control. God's plan. We have to remember that even when we work hard, pour our EVERYTHING into this...it has to be our turn to win. Saturday night? Was not my turn.
But guess what...
My turn is coming.
And I'll only be lucky enough to see that day, if I keep on doing what I'm doing. Pouring my heart, soul, time, money, and everything else into this barrel racing thing. Am I crazy? Ya, probably. But I so strongly believe that God rewards a stubborn heart. Stick with it. Our time will come.
And to that girl at the gate? Whoever you are...thank you. You reminded me of the most important thing. That even on the 'bad' days...this life ain't so bad.