What a gut punch. No Triple Crown this year. Not even a CHANCE for a Triple Crown. “I’ll Have Another” is out of tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes.
It broke the way news breaks these days—a vague announcement of an upcoming news conference, whispers on Twitter, and then finally, after everyone already knew through social media and “e-alerts,” the “official” announcement.
We’re not all avid racing fans, but from the gasps (and expletives) from each of us upon reading or hearing the news, you would have thought that we had a lot of money riding on “I’ll Have Another.” That’s because, like everyone else, (or maybe a little more than everyone else because of what we do for a living), we like spectacles.
There is always something about history being made. People love markers and milestones. And as PR people, we pay attention to, appreciate, and plan the spectacles, markers and milestones that people love.
We saw this earlier this week when the Maryland Science Center’s roof was packed for the Transit of Venus. Were all the attendees astronomy buffs? Had they circled June 5 on their calendar in 2004, during the last Transit? Perhaps, but most of the people gazing skyward were simply there to see something they wouldn’t get to see again. A spectacle. A milestone. They wanted to be able to say they saw it. To have a story to tell. It will be 105 years until the next Transit. Walking through the crowd, we heard over and over, “When’s the next one?” “So nobody alive will see this again?” (The next Transit of Venus is in 2117.) It’s a downer that we don’t get to see a Triple Crown, but it’s also a downer that nobody else does.
All over the country, columnists have been dreaming about their possible leads. PR people have been looking for any possible horse angle to pitch to media. And fans—be it of horseracing or milestones—have been eagerly anticipating a “where were you when” story to tell their grandchildren. And it’s over. No spectacle, no milestone, no shared marker.
Such is life. And life in PR.