Monday, June 15, 2009

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I was originally drawn to this article based on personal interest in the subject matter, and was thoroughly pleased with my choice. Not only is it skillfully composed, but it also offers insight into a world that is usually puzzling to the general public- the world of horseracing. Sean Clancy, a jockey-turned-journalist, shares his thoughts on the probable outcome of the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the renowned Triple Crown. The fact is he has no definite opinion. The purpose of his editorial is to reveal to television viewers void of "horse sense" the truth about the sport to which he has devoted his life; the truth that nothing regarding racing is ever absolutely certain. As someone who has spent her whole life around horses, I can agree wholeheartedly that this aspect is too often overlooked when placing bets. A living, breathing creature is bound to react differently and unpredictably to racing conditions than a carefully-tuned stockcar. With horseracing, it's anyone's game, and those who take it too seriously find themselves neck-deep in trouble. As both a cautionary admonition and a sliver of insight into a complicated game, Clancy's piece works wonders.
Clancy's writing style enables him to communicate his opinions smoothly and memorably. His more in-depth explanations present themselves in paragraph form, but the little snippets of interest and importance stand alone. This was extremely effective because it helped make the text easy to follow, and showcased Clancy's main points. In addition, several clever similes and metaphors were utilized. My favorites related the horses to modern human figures of prominence, giving newspaper readers a connection to the subject matter they mightn't have otherwise had. One other prevalent technique throughout the piece was the use of incomplete, choppy sentences that gave the reader a conversational impression. This method made it seem almost as if one were sipping black coffee while musing to a fellow trainer, watching jockeys don their silks and weigh in, and inhaling the dust stirred up by prancing, polished hooves. Overall the composition was pleasing to read, and a useful addition to the newspaper.

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