The Catholic Defender: Secretariat

Posted by John Benko - July 25th, 2013

“Do you give the horse his strength, and endow his neck with splendor? Do you make the steed to quiver while his thunderous snorting spreads terror? He jubilantly paws the plain and rushes in his might against the weapons.” (Job 39″19-21)

I was raised on a farm growing up in Southern Missouri and I will always treasure those high school years.  I was responsible for the animals ensuring that they were all taken care of.

My Brother and I loved to ride our horses and that was a great foundation my Mother gave us. 

This week, I was given an opportunity to write a paper for extra credit.  One of the stories I was given was to watch the movie “Secretariat” which is a 2010 picture on the true story of Secretariat, the race horse.

I bought the movie from HEB and I watched it the same night.  I was so hit by the power of the story.  My Confirmation name is St. Francis of Assisi which says something to why I have a heart for animals.

The story begins with a courageous woman, Penny Chenery Tweedy who held onto a vision instilled by her parents.  Great leaders sometimes are those who are ordinary people given extra ordinary challenges.

I was deeply impressed with the strength of Mrs. Tweedy who ultimately put together a great team to train Secretariat.  The scene builds in 1973 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown for the first time in 27 years.  To this day, no horse has come close to the record of Secretariat.

Watching the movie really took me back, I remember the story when it was happening, but I was not really that interested in horse racing so it was something I was aware of but it was not something I followed specifically.

 Mrs. Tweedy went against the odds, she was opposed by her husband and brother who did not share her vision.  She also was going against a traditionally male environment so this was totally a ground breaking effort.  Her parents both past away giving Mrs. Tweedy responsibility for the horses and she took that and ran with it.

Diane Lane does a great job in playing the role of Mrs. Penny Tweedy, watching the YouTube highlights of the original footage, I thought she really did play the role well.  It was very believable.

I fully recommend this movie produced by Disney as a family film.  Movies like this we should be supporting, there was no foul language, no nudity, nothing that I noticed objectionable at all.  It is given a PG rating so I recommend it as the story is truly inspiring.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 states, “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.  Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.  They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.  Thus I do not run aimlessly, I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.  No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified”.

I was really saddened to learn that Secretariat was put to sleep due to laminitis, an inflammation of the tissue that bonds the horse’s bone to the inner wall of the hoof.  This will cause great pain and horses are put to sleep because they will not recover from it.

Does God follow horse racing? I guess we can ask that question on just about any sport, I do love the way that St. Paul ties sports into his writings.  I think it is safe to say that because God loves you so much, He is interested in you.  He is interested in horse racing as it might concern you.

I will say the same thing about football, basketball, baseball, any other valid sport.  I do not believe the Lord cares about the heavy betting behind a lot of this, so always be moderate in any of that.

I am greatly inspired by stories of great courage; Secretariat is an amazing story of faith, hope, trust, commitment, and endurance.


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