My (Equestrian) Biological Clock

 Posted by on 18 January 2014 at 2:00 pm  Courage, Horses, Personal, Sports
Jan 182014

This fall, I felt my “biological clock” ticking for the first time. No, not over having children, but rather in the form of “Oh no, I only have another decade or two for crazy awesome fun with horses!!” — that is, eventing.

When I began training and competing, I wanted to get up to training level, i.e. 3’3″ jumps. Now I want to get to preliminary (3’7″), maybe intermediate (3’9″), and perhaps even advanced (3’11″).

I’m reasonably sure that I can develop the skills to do that, although I’ll need another horse or two. Lila isn’t athletic enough to go beyond novice (2’11″) in cross-country safely. I’m not sure that I have the courage, but I’ll work on that (and the skills) like mad in Aiken in February!

Basically, I want to do like Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo at the 2013 Rolex:




I just watched those videos again, and I can’t express enough admiration for those performances. Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo make everything look easy… and wow, it’s not!

Racial Segregation at the University of Alabama

 Posted by on 26 September 2013 at 10:00 am  Courage, Ethics, Racism
Sep 262013

This story is fascinating: Sorority Exposes Its Rejection of Black Candidate:

On the campus of the University of Alabama, accusations that traditionally white sorority chapters had turned down an apparently impeccable candidate simply because she was black hardly came as a surprise.

The surprise was that it was sorority members — and not the candidate herself — who made the allegations, saying that in some cases they were pressured by alumnae to turn her down.

The allegations, reported on Wednesday in the student newspaper The Crimson White, were based on the account of Melanie Gotz, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and members of several other sororities who remained anonymous. In the report, parts of which were corroborated by sorority members, many students said they were open to recruiting the young woman, whose family has asked that she not be named; she is the stepdaughter of a state legislator and stepgranddaughter of a former State Supreme Court justice and current trustee of the university.

The members said they were pressured by outsiders, including a case in which, The Crimson White reported, the recruit was dropped from consideration at the insistence of a volunteer sorority adviser who also works for the university.

The original report from The Crimson White is well worth reading. Here’s a bit:

[Melanie] Gotz was the one to openly question the motives behind executive members and alumnae of Alpha Gamma Delta as to why they dropped the black student that she and others wanted to become a pledge.

“It was just like a big elephant in the room,” Gotz said. “So I raised my hand.”

In response, Gotz said alumnae in the room cited the chapter’s letter of recommendation requirements as a reason for the potential new member’s removal. Active sorority members then began standing up to voice support for the recruit and challenge alumnae decisions, Gotz said.

“It was just so cool to see everyone willing to take this next step and be the sorority that took a black girl and not care,” Gotz said. “You know, I would say there were probably five people in the room that disagreed with everything that was being said. The entire house wanted this girl to be in Alpha Gam. We were just powerless over the alums.”

It’s appalling that such racism exists in America today. However, I’m heartened by two elements of this story. First, many sorority members wished to pledge these girls — based on their merits, without regard for skin color. Second, after being refused in various underhanded ways, some of those sorority members spoke to the media about what happened. Melanie Gotz did so openly, and that moral courage impresses me.

Now that this problem has been more thoroughly aired than ever before, let’s hope it gets solved soon. Racial segregation isn’t good for anyone, dammit.

Conquer Your Fear

 Posted by on 6 April 2012 at 7:00 am  Aristotle, Courage, Ethics, Sports
Apr 062012

A fourth grade girl screws up her courage to make her first ski jump:

The beginning is hard to watch, but the ending is awesome!

Just a few hours after I watched this video, I read this amazing news story about an 80-year-old woman, without any training in flying, landing a plane after her husband collapsed.

“She was remarkable on the radio,” Keith Kasbohm of the Door County Cherryland Airport said of Monday’s incident. “She kept her composure and sounded like she had been a pilot for years. She knew what to do when they told her ‘flaps down, increase the throttle, increase the trim.’ She was doing it well.”

Sadly, her husband died, but she saved her own life (and gave him every chance at life) by acting sensibly under such difficult circumstances.

Too many people, accustomed to indulging their emotions in ordinary life, collapse under the pressure of difficult circumstances. Unless saved by sheer luck or some rational person, they suffer failure, pain, loss, injury, and even death.

Life requires that a person govern his emotions by his reason in the ways advocated by Aristotle. If your emotions are not in harmony with your reason, then you’ve got to work on your moral psychology. Your life and happiness depends on it!

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