Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crowning Moments!

The picture above is an actual picture of Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes in New York in 1973.  More pictures of this horse and his owner can be found at
Last night, for our Friday family movie night, we watched Secretariat, an inspiring movie about a horse and a woman with the hearts of champions and their desire to win.

Secretariat, whose real name was Big Red, has been described as, "the greatest racehorse of all time" and his win at Belmont Stakes, which finalized his Triple Crown award, reported as the "most dramatic moment in thoroughbred history".

Won in a coin toss, Big Red became the horse of Penny Chenery Tweedy, who took over her father's horse stables at his death.   Upon seeing his big heart and fighting spirit, she proceeded to race him and, against all odds, took him on to win the most longed-for prize in racing, the Triple Crown.  In addition to this, he was named Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973, Champion 2 year-old Colt, Champion 3 year-old Colt, and Champion Grass Horse.

Penny Tweedy, was inspiring in the sense of her drive to find the potential of herself and her animal.  Although she was ridiculed and discouraged by her competition, and even those who should have stood by her, she showed them all what hard work and determination can accomplish.

Granted I haven't studied Penny Tweedy's life, but I do have to mention one thing.  Ms. Tweedy was happily married, it seemed, had four children, and was a successful homemaker, as observed by this viewer.  When her parents died, she took over the family farm, which was an airplane ride from her home.  She made numerous trips back and forth for two years, and then when Big Red, aka Secretariat, was racing for two years, those trips became fewer and farther between.  She even ended up divorcing, or separating, from her husband.  When I watched the movie, it seems that in her drive to make her horse a champion, she gave up what should have been her most prized possession: her family.  Even one of my kids commented, "She's not a very good Mom, is she?"

Like I have previously mentioned, I have not studied Ms. Tweedy's life, but that was my sentiments exactly.  I respect her as the keen business woman and dreamer that she was, but I have to question her decision to sacrifice her family.  Not all "crowning moments" take place in front of a crowd of people.  And although she achieved what many believed to be the impossible, and was awarded many "crowning moments" from the press and fans of the world, she left her greatest moments ever, those with her husband and kids, behind.

At times it feels as though the piles of laundry and the overflowing sink of dishes may never end; that our lot in life as a homemaker is drudgery and boredom.  But the greatest reward we'll ever receive is the trust and unconditional love of a child.  Motherhood trumps any trophy we might win anywhere else.  My success in running a home, having a happy husband, and happy children  are my greatest achievements. 

C.S. Lewis agreed when he said, "[Homemaking] is surely in reality the most important work in the world.  What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government, etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes"... [The homemaker's] job is one for which all others exist" (Letters of C.S. Lewis, p. 262).

 May we look for and find our true "crowning moments" within the walls of our own homes, (even if it is on our knees, wiping up spilled milk from breakfast) and fulfill the divine potential we were sent here to achieve.


  1. I also wrote about this movie, but from a different perspective. I totally agree, however, that you could just watch her family fall apart as the movie progressed. What was an awesome inspirational movie, from a 'follow your dreams and believe in yourself' perspective was overshadowed by the demise of a otherwise (or so we think) healthy, thriving family. Too bad it had to go that way.

  2. What an excellent review! I haven't seen this movie yet, or know the story, but I think you really highlighted that ever elusive notion of doing it all as a mom and career woman. Something has to give, and you do have to make priorities. I think as women, we all want another woman to actually do both or everything well, but I'm not sure it happens. I know that when I'm on my death bed, I will be thinking about family, and how I treated others.


Thank you so much for sharing. It makes my day!

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