July 20 2006, 11:48 AM
Let me say this first: I sincerely hope that Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby-winning horse, recovers from the horrific leg injury he suffered at the Preakness race two months ago. I really, honestly, truly do hope that Barbaro makes a full recovery and avoids that great glue factory in the sky. Now that I have that out of the way, let me also say this: Who do I have to euthanize to end the daily Barbaro updates? Denver Post sports columnist Terry Frei wrote a few days ago that he is fully vested in the "how's Barbaro doing today" storyline. Here's a few tidbits from Frei's column:
On Saturday, one of the first things I did was to check if there was any word about Barbaro's condition. And I'm not embarrassed to admit it. At that point, the news from Pennsylvania was the Kentucky Derby winner still was fighting for his life... ...If it had to be expressed with words, I'd say the widespread interest in Barbaro's fate ever since would be hard to explain. Yet the explanation instead involves feelings in the pit of the stomach and the throat and, yes, even in the eyes. I don't want to turn this into a joke, but isn't the scene most of us remember from "Stripes" the semi-serious one when Bill Murray asks his new Army buddies which of them cried at the end of "Old Yeller," and they slowly and self-consciously get around to raising their hands? My hand went up, too. All those who were shaken after having to make a tough decision about a pet, raise your hands. Come on. Nobody's looking. There. That's more like it.Okay, I understand all of that. I really do. Like I said, I want to see Barbaro recover and go on to the good life of being a professional "stud." But can we please end the daily Barbaro news ticker? I can pretty much sum up the last two months since the Barbaro injury like this: Barbaro Feeling Better Barbaro Feeling Worse No, Wait, Barbaro Feeling Better No, No, Barbaro Feeling Worse Hooray! Barbaro Feeling Better Both The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News run Barbaro updates every couple of days. Frei devoted a full column to it a few days ago, and the Rocky Mountain News' Bernie Lincicome did the same today. ESPN.com has an update virtually every day. EVERY DAY! The Rocky had this headline a couple of days ago: Barbaro Stays 'Positive' Barbaro stays positive??? What??? What would be the alternative headline? Barbaro Admits to Feeling a Little Down About Broken Leg. Everyone does know that Barbaro is a horse, don't they? Did I miss the press conference where he turned into Mr. Ed? (Now that would have been a story). Barbaro broke his leg in terrifying fashion exactly two months ago today. Two months! We've been getting almost daily updates on his progress ever since. Call me callous, but I just don't care about the story of Barbaro anymore. [Careful reading alert!!!] Again, I am hopeful that Barbaro recovers, but I no longer care about the story of Barbaro. Let me know if he recovers, or let me know if he dies, but otherwise I don't want to hear about it. We don't get this kind of daily coverage when a famous statesman or political figure becomes ill, but for a horse??? I realize that Barbaro's recovery would be a great story, but he hasn't recovered yet. The media is making this a story, forcing it down our throats. Barbaro broke his leg!!! DON'T YOU CARE??? CARE!!! CAARRRRREEEEE!!! Look, this is a million-dollar horse, getting million-dollar treatment, in a veterinarian clinic that I would make my primary doctor's office if I could. They're half way to making him into some sort of bionic cyborg horse. It's not like Barbaro broke his leg and some guy in a barn was nursing him back to life. If Barbaro doesn't recover, it won't be because he wasn't courageous - it will be because modern science ran out of science. So here's to Barbaro: My thoughts are with you, and may you have a speedy recovery. But in the meantime, I don't want to hear about it.