Am I the Only One Who Doesn’t “Get” the Melbourne Cup?
I really don’t understand all the fuss about the Melbourne Cup. I really don’t.
I’ve been pondering lately how a 3 minute horse race manages to “stop the nation” every year. I suppose it has something to do with it being drummed into us almost from birth!
Throughout my entire life, the Melbourne Cup has been revered and worshipped. I remember each November at my Catholic primary school, we would be taken to the school hall to watch the big race on TV. We would have “sweeps” (I don’t believe a lot of money actually changed hands though!), discuss the jockeys’ colours and pick our favourites – this went on through to high school as well.
Despite the annual fuss about it all, I still really don’t get why it’s quite so important. Why companies pay millions of dollars to fly celebrities out here to spend a few hours in an exclusive marquee. Why we blow millions of dollars at the TAB. Why we get frocked up at dodgy venues just to watch a 3 minute horse race in between drinking cheap wine and telling complete strangers that we love them…
Here are a few reasons why the race does absolutely nothing for me:
1. I have never been to a live horse race in my entire life. The closest I ever got was going to the greyhounds one night with my Dad, sometime in my early teens. Believe me, there was nothing glamourous about going to the local dog track, in winter, at night, in your trackies with a bunch of middle aged men…. Maybe if I went to the race itself and got frocked up, with champers in hand, I’d feel differently. But for now, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
2. This may shock you but I am not considered a fashionista. I try to look good but I’m busy and don’t have the discretionary income to buy $200 dresses when the whim takes me. Besides fashion magazines bore me to tears, all they are are glorified catalogues containing endless advertisements of things that I could never afford anyway. So the fashion side of the cup and the discussion around the style of fascinators or the size of hats or the length of skirts doesn’t really do it for me.
3. I am not at all interested in betting or gambling. I remember in my late teens/early 20’s going with my friends to the local bowling club on a Saturday night. After having a few drinks, dissing the band and laughing at the antics of other drunk and unfortunately dressed patrons, we would play the pokies. I would be bored witless in a matter of minutes. The lights, the music, the repetitive action of pushing a button never gave me a thrill – it just made me sleepy! Same with placing bets and picking winners – the gambling side of the cup leaves me rather cold.
4. The timing of the race is highly inconvenient for me. As a working mother of school aged kids, the Melbourne Cup is always on at the wrong time. 3pm on the first Tuesday in November will usually find me literally running to the school to pick up Matilda so I can drag her back home before Gilbert gets dropped of at home so we can then all pile back into the car to collect Delilah from daycare. There isn’t much time anymore for me to sit back for 3 mins and watch anything, let alone a horse race.
5. I always get the raw end of the deal at work. As the only person who seemingly doesn’t get the allure of the big race (I’m the one who never attends cup related functions) I am usually the one holding the fort back in the workplace. This Tuesday, I will be the only person from my entire work unit in the office. Granted most of my work unit are based in Melbourne and will be on a public holiday, but I will be the only one present from my local team. I plan to crank up my ipod, stay busy and sneakily try to nick some food from other teams’ afternoon teas on my way out at 2.30pm!
Am I seriously the only one in Australia who doesn’t get it? If you share my bewilderment please let me know so I don’t feel out of sync with the rest of my countrymen. If you do get it, can you please explain what I’m missing?
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