For those not aware, Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November each year. It is called the race that stops the nation and people gather in offices, if they haven’t been fortunate enough to get the day or afternoon off, to watch a bunch of jockeys race horses around a track.
You may be able to tell from my description of the iconic horse race that I am not terribly impressed by horse racing. Personally I think that it is a rather cruel endeavour, especially when the horses end up lame and need to be put down and I will also admit that I find horses an overrated animal. Gasp… yes, I actually said that. I think cows have far more personality than the average horse.
This year, I was not in an office that took part in sweeps – it seemed rather pointless in a smaller office, however I did place my first ever bet. Growing up around a number of family members that love to watch the horses, it is quite surprising that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I went with one of my colleagues to the local pub and he talked me through to process. Hey big spender… I spent a total of $8 backing four horses to either win or place. I have never been one for gambling and apart from occasionally feeding $20 into the pokies, I would say my main form of gambling is scratch-its. I do not know why but I love spending a couple of dollars at a time scratching those little cards. My OCD also makes me scratch the panels neatly so a $4 scratchie can last me a good couple of minutes…
Anyway, I am getting away from myself. So, the office gathered at race time, lounging around in front of one of the TV’s and pigging out on crisps and popcorn while the horses were led into their – stalls? The gates opened and I sat there, bored from the very beginning as I am far too deaf to be able to figure out what the hell is being said at such breakneck speeds and all horses pretty much look the same to me.
The horses crossed the finish line and the winner and runners-up were announced. To my amazement, I won! One of the horses I had so carefully picked based mostly on the colour of the jersey worn by the jockey, and the horses name, had won! A nice little profit of $13 for a little stroll down to the TAB.
Yes, it may sound foolish to some but the fact is, I hardly ever win a thing. I remember winning a raffle at the Primary School fete when I was a kid. The prize was a doll with a little blanket that had been carefully embroidered. I pretty much hated most dolls when I was a kid – give me a teddy bear any day. However this one was special as it had been donated by my Grandma. In Grade 2, I won an award for being the best pupil for the year (I don’t know if this was based on scholastic achievement or manners) and received a book voucher which I promptly spent on Fairy Magic by Shirley Barber and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs. It amazed me at the time since I am still pretty certain that my Grade 2 teacher hated me (I certainly got told to stand in the corner often enough – although probably because Mum loved to charge into the classroom and start bossing everyone around when she could hear it was getting out of hand from the tuckshop below). In Grade 7, I won the election to be one of the School Captains. I was quite horrified when my name was announced and I had to make a speech. I wouldn’t have entered the election if it hadn’t been compulsory… having enough kids to cover both School and Sports captains when you only have 10 pupils to draw from is a challenge.
I, like many others, would love to win the lotto someday although I don’t tend to play it often. The story around the family grapevine is that one of my Great Grandmothers used to pray every night that no one in the family would ever win for fear that money would spoil us. Thanks Great Gran… I would love the chance to prove that money wouldn’t really change me so if you can get around to reversing that prayer of yours that would be swell.
It is easy to get super excited by winning little prizes (good work for those who manage to win big) and forget about everything else that has been won in life. I am incredibly lucky to have won the love of a good man. I am incredibly lucky to have won the friendship of another man. I am lucky to have won the right to be called Aunty and be the go to person to tell tall stories and run around with the kids.
Luck is all around us. We just have to keep our eyes open to it.