A Weekend at the Preakness.

Horse racing. The Sport of Kings. Is there anything more preppy on TV than the three Triple Crown races? All you see are people better than you wearing big hats and bow-ties. They cheer on their horse with the fervor of a 90-year-old tennis fan. The flowers trackside are in pristine condition, and it seems as though every grain of sand and dirt is perfectly laid on the track.

But there is an area at the Preakness far away from the prying eyes of ESPN’s viewers. No camera dare enter this forbidden zone, for all hope for humanity would be instantly lost. I speak of the infamous Pimlico Infield.

Some of you may know of the experience, but I suspect most do not. So here we go with a slight narrative.

Coming from DC, we have to wake up at 5 am to drive to Baltimore. I’m all for getting up early to party, but to get up at 5 and drive an hour and half is a little much. So we pack our van with 3 coolers, 5 camp chairs, and head to the event of which none of us have ever been or known someone who’s been.

After signing over my first-born child to park, we make the trek to the gate. The mob of people trying to get in at 7:45 in the morning reminds me of a scene from War of the Worlds. The air-tight security opens the cooler I have, pokes the ice with a stick, and asks if I have any glass. (I will later find out exactly why glass was not allowed.) I say “No” and shuffle on in.

We meet up with guys already set up. We have a nice spot to place bets, a big screen to watch the races, and a medium distance away from the restrooms. By restrooms I mean the 75 porta-pots lined up next to some sort of dirt walkway. (Along the same lines as the glass, this will be important later on.)

After about 10 minutes of having some cold beer and good conversation, a throng of Busch and Natty Light drinkers show up next to us. Not unexpected, but the baby pool they blew up then dumped 15 bags of ice in was. Then, to make the ice slightly more attractive, they put in the 7 case of assorted crappy beer. There are slip n’ slides and ice luges all around, and the middle-aged people that were sitting next to us have long since departed.

After an hour of hanging out, we make our first trek to the restrooms/porta-pots. Not actually too bad considering the circumstances. However, I do notice that the back of the porta-pots are now being used like they are trees in the woods. And there’s a line. I’m going to repeat that: THERE’S A LINE TO PEE ON THE BACK OF THE PORTA-POTS. (This would, unfortunaetly, come in to play later.)

So there’s not too much fanfare around us for the horse-racing. Pretty much just a bunch of people sitting around drinking with nothing to do. So they invent things. And not hackey-sack or playing card things. Here’s where everything comes together.

Suddenly, there’s a roar from the toilet, umm, area. I guess. So we look over, and there is a gentleman (using the term loosely here) on top of the end porta-pot. He stands on top, and begins to sprint down the row. From porta-pot roof to porta-pot roof. I guess his goal is to make it to the end and climb down.

Well, the rest of the crowd is having none of that. Little did the guy know his joyous potty-roof-top-run would turn into a gauntlet. In a scene reminiscent of Platoon, a barrage of full beer cans hurtle towards the “runner”. And not unopened cans. A few people grabbed cans from their coolers, opened them, and chucked them at the guy with all their might. These guys, of course, were behind us (as we were a medium distance from the roof top Thunderdome that was a toilet area). I always imagined that if it were to rain beer, it would be the happiest day of my life. Now, I don’t figure so much.

So as we sit there, watching this guy run across the tops getting pelted by beer cans as the beer rains down upon us, the dude gets straight up nailed in the head. He takes a tumble off the roof, which is a pretty good fall. Remember that dirt road and the back of the porta-pot thing?

Face-plant, into what is now the muddy road.

As I blamed the guy for the puddle of Bud Ice I’m now sitting in, it was a pretty rewarding sight. Almost as rewarding as watching the same thing happen 12 more times that day.

By early afternoon, it started to rain. This is apprently drunk-Frat-guy-with-no-shirt-on code for “Do whatever you want”. I think it was while watching 3 dudes hurl tomatos into a crowd of 50 people that I began to really feel good about myself. Or maybe it was when the guy gently body slammed his girlfriend into the baby pool of Natty.

We got back to the van with our 3 coolers and about 12 newly acquired chairs. The drive home was the best sleep I’d gotten all week, and I was in bed by 9. I saw a replay of the race on Sportscenter.

There were actually horses at this thing?


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