Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga Race Course’

Thoughts of Dad on Father’s Day

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since my dad, Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

Earl N Brindle-official Army AirForce photo-1941

Over the past few years, I find myself having conversations with my father especially during my morning walks. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also shown up as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother, Alan and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. (He would have loved watching American Pharoah win it this year!) When I moved to Saratoga and took Dad to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.


My Enhanced CX (Customer Experience)

Yesterday, I was having a problem renewing a couple of my website domains via my GoDaddy account. So, I called the customer service hotline.

The guy who was assigned my call was efficient, learned about my issue then promptly fixed my problem and explained why I had encountered the difficulty. That was standard operating procedure.

What surprised and delighted me was what happened next.

Based on my information, GoDaddy’s rep knew that I lived in Saratoga Springs, New York. So, he asked me what I thought about jockey Ramon Dominguez’s accomplishment of winning 6 races at Saratoga Race Course over the weekend.

His question started a conversation about the work I’m doing for the New York Racing Association this summer at Saratoga Race Course and about his family’s love of horse racing. He told me that he often takes his kids to Santa Anita in California but that his relatives have been to Saratoga and have recommended that he visit, too. He then told me that he and his family were planning to vacation in Saratoga Springs next summer. I told him that I thought they would really enjoy their visit, wished him well, thanked him for his help, and we ended out conversation.

For me, it was a terrific customer experience. Yes, we resolved my business problem but there was also an emotional connection and exchange of humanity. My opinion about and trust of GoDaddy was definitely improved by the experience.

In GoDaddy’s follow-up questionnaire, I suggested that they give that man a raise. I hope that they take my recommendation seriously.

Rachel Alexandra

If you watched the Triple Crown races this year, you may remember the story about a nice older gentleman who bred a filly and named her after his granddaughter, Rachel Alexandra. He later sold the horse to billionaire Jess Jackson, of Kendall-Jackson Wines fame, who is a controversial figure in the horse racing industry because he believes that the way horses have been bred over the past decade have led to more injuries.

Calvin Borel, who became America’s jockey after riding Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, is her jockey.

(Rachel & Calvin at Saratoga Race Course)

That’s the backstory for today’s Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY. Rachel Alexandra is the “it” horse this year. And during on this final Saturday of the “Saratoga Season”, there’s a sense of excitement about this 3 year old filly and tens of thousands of both casual and hard-core horseracing fans are expected to fill the stands on what promises to be a gorgeous end-of-summer afternoon.

My dad, Earl N. Brindle, loved horses and Saratoga. I’ll be thinking of him as I watch Rachel Alexandra in today’s race from the historic grandstand at Saratoga Race Course.

Postscript-Watch the race here: