[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Hey, in case you didn’t know, there’s a little horse racing going on today in Louisville. You’ve heard all about the competitors and the odds, and I’m sure you’ve got your bets locked in by now (bring it home, Union Rags). You’ve heard all about the celebrities that will be in attendance, the festivities around the city and the state before, between, and after the races, and the weather forecast for the call to the post (which is looking fine by the way…partly cloudy and warm). But none of this is the best part of the Derby experience, at least in my opinion. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for tradition, but the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” gets me every time, and you can count on its performance before the main event as sure as there will be roses and big crazy hats.
There is something about people from all parts of the country, and many parts of the world, standing and singing your state’s song that causes pride to well up inside until you feel like you might burst with love for the Commonwealth. The moment that the song is played encompasses everything I like about the Kentucky Derby, in that it brings people together and allows much of the world to share in the deep history and tradition of our state and celebrate Kentucky culture.
The song has always held a special place in the hearts of students and alumni of the University of Kentucky, where it is played at the conclusion of most major sporting events, win or lose. I will never forget singing it after winning the national title last month, standing connected with hundreds of fellow students as everyone belted out the lyrics as loud as they could. Even the event worker standing directly in front of us on the court began to tear up just watching the students take pride in their school and state.
So, as I watch the events leading up to the Derby, you better believe I’ll have my hand up, pointing toward the sky on “Weep no more, my lady.” You better believe I’ll be singing along with everyone in Churchill Downs. Most importantly, you better believe that I’ll enjoy that moment, celebrating and embracing everything that makes Kentucky home. Luckily for us, it’s not so far away.
I like Kentucky. You like Kentucky. It’s a match made in…well…Kentucky. Follow me: @AdamSchiltKSR
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