Last weekend, my wife and I journeyed to the beautiful campus of Monmouth University in New Jersey for the annual Sports Literature Association conference. She, having a Ph.D. in media literacy, fit right in. I, on the other hand, have no credentials whatsoever. But in order to get me to drive her to New Jersey, she worked me into the program. But what to talk about?
After wracking my brain and coming up empty (a common occurrence for me), my wife suggested I talk about the day I was in Siena, Italy on the day the Gran Premio di Tazio Nuvolari came to town. The Nuvolari is not a race. It is mostly an excuse to take the wraps off million dollar antique race cars and take them for a ride across Italy from Pisa to the Adriatic. The event stops at all major cities along the way and one of those stops was Il Campo in Siena.
Il Campo is the town square where the Palio horse race takes place twice a year, just as it has for the past 500 years. Actually, calling it a horse race is sort of like calling Lewis and Clark’s expedition a camping trip. The jockeys ride bare back and the only rule is to finish first. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I was able to entertain my audience with a clip of the actual racing. No matter how you try to describe it in words, seeing it live is the only way to demonstrate the violence and passion of this sporting contest.
The confluence of horse racing and motor racing in Il Campo made for an interesting presentation, one which was well received by my audience, judging from their comments afterwards. So now I can boast about my academic credentials, in addition to all the other honors I have accumulated in my life, such as……..Well, I’m sure there must be some.
If you would like to view all 332 photos I took that day in Siena, you can find them at this link. Enjoy! : )