Monday, September 27, 2010

This is a sponsored post from Disney and BlogHer.

My grandfather told me the story of Secretariat. One year before I was born, an unlikely horse was moved through the horse racing circuit by an even more unlikely female owner, landing the Triple Crown -- the trifecta of horse racing. It's a feat few have accomplished in over 100 years of horse racing, and there hasn't been a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed took the title, five years after Secretariat.

He told me the story as we watched the movie Phar Lap, a similarly unlikely tale of a non-pedigreed Australian race horse that beat the odds to become one of the best race horses in the world. I was a horse-loving girl, a rider who volunteered at the stables mucking stalls and cleaning shoes in order to spend more time around the horses.

Even without following the racing circuit, it's easy to have your heartstrings tugged when you hear stories such as Secretariat because in the end, it is just as much about humanity as it is about the extraordinary horse. It is just as much about Penny Chenery, a housewife of 18 years (and mother of four), who showed the world that the skills needed to run a house do apply in the business world and that child-rearing is work. She successfully transitioned from raising children to running her father's stable, making the keen decision to hire Lucien Laurin as the trainer.

It's a story about a woman who broke other barriers. Penny Chenery was one of the first women (she was one of three) to be inducted into the all-male Jockey Club. She helped create a foundation that took care of aging Thoroughbreds after they left the racing circuit.

And it is easy to place yourself in the context of the story -- we all have our own private Secretariat moments -- those times when the first answer was clearly "no," but we ignored it and pushed ahead and grabbed the prize. My own twins are my Secretariats -- though early losses and fertility treatments, a twin pregnancy and premature birth, a NICU stay and an inability to breastfeed, it felt like ocean waves pounding down on us. Our two options were to retreat or push ahead, and we pushed ahead. It's amazing to see them now in kindergarten and know how close the world came to not having them here at all.

I have been planning on taking the twins to see the new Disney film, Secretariat, which comes out on October 8th, because it sends an important message, one that is best paraphrased from Norton Juster in the Phantom Tollbooth, "anything is possible just so long as you don't know that it's impossible." People need to see these stories because they serve as a reminder that while working hard is not a given in the most important aspects of life, without that hard work, you don't stand a chance.

BlogHer is asking readers to share their own impossible story for a chance to win a $100 Visa card from BlogHer. Leave a comment below telling them about a time in your life when it looked as if you didn't have a chance -- and yet you pulled through in the end. One comment will be chosen for the winner, but there are additional ways to up your chances.

Not only can you leave a comment (2 valid entries per person only), but if you tweet about the post and leave a direct url to the tweet as an additional comment, or blog about the post and leave a direct url to the blog mention as an additional comment, you'll be entered an extra time. US resident, must be 18+ to enter. The official rules for the contest can be found here.

In Theaters Oct 8

For more information:

Official Site

Like on Facebook.

Follow on Twitter.

Watch on YouTube.