You know all about the Derby: beautiful thoroughbreds, the Twin Spires, Southern belles in huge hats, celebrity sightings, mint juleps, all that.
Well, I went to two Derby Days during college and spent almost no time experiencing those things. A few years after hanging out in the Churchill Downs infield for two consecutive Derbies, I have much different memories:
--A mud-fight that included hundreds of people and ended with my buddy getting arrested for accidentally pegging a cop. The cop ripped off my buddy's Barcelona jersey then form-tackled him to the ground. Now, that was the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.
--The running of the Port-A-Potties, a staple of both the Derby and the Preakness.
--Sleeping in the car for two nights straight in a Wal-Mart parking lot, eating White Castle burgers and drinking warm Natural Lights.
--Finding the last of those Natural Lights with my non-arrested buddy Keating and nursing it like a mare nurses her foal.
I guess what I'm saying is that "I'm going to the Derby" has widely-varying meanings for different people. So for those of you that throw Derby parties in the future, be careful not to stress the big hats and mint juleps too much. Make sure you have a lightly-iced cooler of Natty Light somewhere as well.
Coming later this week: Other Non-Rich Sports Experiences