Quite frankly, I find all of the overwrought reporting and writing concerning the death of Barbaro to be a bit much. Good Morning America ran a segment this morning entitled "What Barbaro's Courage Can Teach Us" or somesuch nonsense.
Barbaro can't teach us anything. Barbaro was a goddamned horse for Chrissake. What the situation can teach us is that if the stud fees are sufficiently astronomical then a broken leg is not necessarily a one-way ticket to the glue factory. That's about it.
Or consider this gem from the usually reliable Harvey Araton in today's New York Times sports page: "Why this national obsession with Barbaro? Maybe, as the fallen champion, the horse was reminiscent of a country that was seriously wounded on 9/11 and has been wobbly ever since."
Since 9/11 most sportswriters have been judicious in their descriptions of their human subjects as "brave" or as "heroes" given the daily examples of true bravery and heroism that one can find on a daily basis in the example of our men and women in uniform who have been thrust in harm's way on our behalf. Not even is employing the death of a horse as a metaphor for national malaise even more grotesque than the average sports mythologizing, it is just not correct.
I never once thought of Barbaro unless there was a news story about his latest surgery. I don't think much of anybody other than hard core racing fans thought about him either.
I mean, he was a horse . He was an awfully pretty one at that and one that I am made to understand is important to the history of an increasingly irrelevant sport.
But as for me, I would be a lot more upset if Roger Federer were put down.