When Jimmy Moffatt (our local racehorse trainer) married Nadine, in the Priory Church of Cartmel three weeks ago, the Reverend Nick Devenish referred to the many different words for ‘love’ that can be found in the Greek language. There was time to reflect on his homily during the excellent party that followed in the grandstand, when it occurred to me that all forms of love can be found here at the racecourse.
example: Storgē is the love that exists between family
members – demonstrated touchingly by grandparents, parents and children as they
share picnics in the public enclosures on raceday. It doesn’t preclude the
adults from giving the youngsters an occasional cuff around the ear for eating
too much candyfloss – which is probably known in parenting manuals as ‘tough storgē’.
one of the joys of the races is spotting young couples in ludus: the
flirtatious, fun sort of love that involves furtive glances, giggling and maybe
even canoodling behind the waltzers.
Meanwhile, anyone who feels the powerful
magnetism of éros (fiery, passionate, sexy love) should ensure
that their picnic blankets are positioned well out of view. Don’t forget that a
Racetech TV camera is capable of picking out a thistle at the top of Hampsfell
– so a bare bottom in the grass is no challenge at all, and could easily earn a
voyeuristic cameraman £250 on You’ve Been Framed.
is the emotion that I feel for my racecourse team as we approach the races –
it’s the love that is shared amongst a group of people striving for a common
goal; a feeling borne out of respect for one another’s strengths and an
accommodation for each other’s weaknesses (especially my own - I could get quite difficult if I don't have a decent cup of coffee in the morning / possibly a chocolate biscuit on the side).
It seems that philía is much easier to create in a team if we
each, individually, possess philantia – a form of confidence or self-love that
you’d anticipate is common among the BHA’s stewards, but diametrically opposed
to the narcissistic self-promotion displayed by racecourse blog-writers.
among the thirty or so words that the Greeks have to describe love, there is
one to describe my love of horseracing, or the deep love that racegoers describe
for our quaint little track at Cartmel. I don’t know enough Greek to be able to
tell you what it is, but it could be encompassed by the generous notion of Agápē – a love of humanity in all its forms, a love that inspires
awe, sympathy and tolerance in equal measure.
Having witnessed Jimmy and Nadine Moffatt’s ceremony, I can
attest that they are now in pragma - the enduring love that develops
between married couples. It stands all tests: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health – but mainly for richer if we all follow this week’s
selection: Jimmy’s Morning Royalty in whichever race he's declared for at Cartmel races on Bank