Let me start by saying I don’t know much about gambling. The one time I went to Las Vegas I was prepared to lose $200 for the weekend, but after I lost $5, I cut my losses and called it a day. I like winning money, but I hate losing it even more. I’m not a big believer in luck and think if I’ve worked hard for what I have, it’d be a shame to see it go down the drain all because I’ve been dealt one bad card.
I don’t think kids should be exposed to betting or gambling, either. I think it has the potential to give them a false sense that there’s a way out of working that requires no actual work. Maybe they’ll find a way later in life, but I guess I’m old-fashioned in thinking they need to work it out for themselves.
Which is why it kind of bugged me to read a story about a 90-year-old former jockey who jumped in front of a runaway horse at a race track to save a 6-year-old girl. While it’s fabulous that he saved her (although he is now recovering from the injuries he sustained in the process), I wonder why she was at the race track to begin with.
Last Saturday a guard at the Santa Anita Rack Track in California leaped in front of a 3-year-old horse named Sea and Sage after he bolted from the track’s walking ring and knocked down the guard and the little girl. The horse and the girl are fine, but the guard, a former jockey, was rushed to the hospital with several fractures in his body. He is said to be recovering well, which I’m happy about, of course.
But why was a 6-year-old girl at a race track? I’ve been asking myself if it’s any different than taking someone that age to a tennis match or a football game or a hockey game. And I think it is. Admittedly I know little to nothing (or nothing to nothing) about horse racing, but as far as I know the tracks always (almost always?) allow betting on site. And I’m going to guess that the majority of the people there are invested financially in the races.
While people can also bet on tennis, football and hockey, they can’t do it on site and from my own, short-lived gambling experience, there is a special kind of anxiety that accompanies an event in which you have money at stake. I’m all for exposing kids to sports, but if it’s coupled with betting, I don’t think it’s appropriate.
Is there a difference between taking a child to a baseball game and the race track?