The power of “I’m sorry”…

Like many, I was enthralled by the story of California Chrome–the possibility of a Triple Crown winner after a drought of so many years. It seemed like such a fairy tale story–owners who were just plain ordinary people, a trainer who had been waiting his whole life for this possibility, a horse “of the people”… But it wasn’t to be.

California Chrome just didn’t seem to have it all together at the Belmont, and was defeated…so the Triple Crown will have to wait for another horse.

What disappointed me more, though, was the rant of Steve Coburn, one of the co-owners afterwards. While I understood his disappointment–and while I agree that the way the races are run should get another look–it felt like a tarnishing of the story that had played out. He came across as a petulant, whiny, sore loser…and that was just such a sad way for the story to end.

But it didn’t end that way. This morning (Monday morning) I had turned on “Good Morning, America” briefly. Just before they went to an ad, they announced that Steve Coburn would be on. I almost turned the TV off, because I didn’t want to hear any more ranting…but I didn’t get it done, and now I’m glad I didn’t.

He came on with a special message–an apology to everyone who had been touched by his rant. Sometimes apologies are just window dressing…sometimes they come across as “I don’t understand why you feel that way, but I’m sorry you do”…but this was the real thing. Without making any excuses, he apologized. He issued sincere congratulations to Tonalist (the winner), his owner, jockey, and trainer…and apologies to his co-owner and everyone involved with California Chrome, the fans…and to his wife. He said, “I was wrong.”

It takes a big man to come onto national TV and to admit that what he said was wrong without making any excuses for himself. I don’t know about others who may have heard his rant and been sorry that the fairy-tale story ended with such a sour taste–but his apology this morning went a long way to changing my opinion of him.

I’m glad I didn’t get the TV turned off.

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