Zenyatta crossed the finish line on Saturday in the Breeders Cup Classic to a roar of emotion shared by all in attendance. Whether it was tears of joy, amazement or knowing you were witnessing history in the making, all around me and throughout the stands, the win was felt in unison.
As the blush of the win wore off on late Sunday afternoon, I remembered something that I had read previously about Zenyatta. As a yearling, she was purchased for $ 60,000 the bloodstock agent who purchased her said he felt he had possibly made a mistake and was bidding on the wrong horse as he couldn't believe she had slipped through the cracks and he had been able to successfully purchase her at the low price.
The reason why she was only $ 60,000? She had a skin disease that made her less attractive or desirable even though she had "vetted" out well. On the surface she was passed over for other yearlings, who looked better. This got me to thinking about young girls who are passed over every day and have labels put upon them at a young age. These labels can hamper their development for the rest of their lives. So many young ladies today are diamonds in the rough, and I wish society embraced them as girls in transition, not airbrushed creations in magazines.
Now of course, Zenyatta didn't buy into any labels or even know she was dismissed for something superficial, nor did she know that she was bigger than the rest of the yearlings in the sales barn. Zenyatta didn't know that her bones were bigger, and that she would need time to grow into herself to bloom into the stunning mare she would become. But her handlers did. Zenyatta was able to start her first race at the age of three instead of the current trend of two. She was given the time to grow into herself. Patience was given to allow her to become the filly she should be to compete at the highest level. Not rushing her to become a precocious sparkler, but a full blown fourth of July fireworks display.
Girls need the same thing, the time to grow, be nurtured by those around them that care for their well being and to not be forced or rushed into being something that someone else wants them to be. Girls need to accept their bodies and its bounty (and its limitations) without pressure. A beautiful swan can just be under the ugly duckling exterior, love and time will expose both.
Zenyatta is a winner, nothing can take that away. Girls are winners too, my hope is in watching Zenyatta crossing the finish line, that the same girls with their "Zenyatta Rocks" posters last Saturday looked in the mirror that night and said "I rock too".