What can I say? There are times you just have to scream. I found myself in this position this weekend when I came across comments from a prominent individual within the sport who seemingly has run up the white flag. No, this person is not happy about the current situation, but is seemingly resigned to the fact this is the way it is.
It reminds me of the opening of Annie Hall when a young Woody Allen is being seen by a psychologist, apparently depressed after reading an article which indicated the sun was going to blow up and destroy the world. The psychologist, attempting to comfort the young Woody Allen, explains to the boy that the sun will blow up millions of years from now long after he is gone. To which the young boy shrugged and responded “What’s the use?’
In the comments from this individual was an explanation of why certain suggestions can’t work; they will upset the status quo. Not, how can any of these suggestions work or be modified; just they can’t work. Why upset a perfectly good product?
Newsflash: Our product is broken. Declining interest and less wagering suggests we are producing not only too much product, but a defective product. Keep on feeding the customer the same product is not going to turn things around. Change is needed; some of it may be painful.
Have we gotten to the point where all is hopeless; it’s “As good as it gets”? I certainly hope not. For if this is the case, all is lost; racing’s strategy should remain do nothing, just make as much money as you can while the states are willing to subsidize the industry with VLT revenue and then one day we will just close up shop and go home.
Fortunately, there are those who think there is a future for harness racing. What we need are the “No” people to stand aside and let the “Yes” people lead. If the sport ever does die, let it be said it went out with a fight and not a whimper.