Well today, I got to do something I hadn’t done in 8+ months. I called a day of horse races. Now I’ve probably called somewhere around 9 or 10 thousand races, but the 8 today were kinda special for a few reasons. The last day I called races was the very end of December last year. I had been struggling with my anxiety terribly last year and had been off my medication (boy that was not a smart move) and being anywhere public, let alone announcing horse races, was pretty impossible. I didn’t go home for Christmas. I stayed isolated in my apartment. Well all that anxiety finally caught up to me and started to interfere at work. I’d say for a few weeks, I was white knuckling calling races. I certainly wasn’t doing it well. Some would argue I never did, but I think I have a knack for it. Well the last day that Hollywood Park ran was the last day I called races for a while. Until today actually. I left after the 7th race that day because I was having a terrible panic attack. I’ll never forget I got home and watched our races on HRTV as our racing secretary called the races. Brad Free on HRTV said something to the effect of “Jason Beem not calling the races now. He’s a really good young announcer and great on twitter.” I got like 12 followers immediately and as they all signed up, I bawled my eyes out, knowing I wasn’t capable of doing something I used to love. Calling races. I took the last couple weeks of the season off and on more than one occasion thought “well my days of racecalling our done.” I spent the winter looking for new jobs, careers, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I got hired at a job that I really enjoy, but it’s not announcing. When I feel good, I love announcing. When I don’t, I don’t really love anything. But new medications, therapy and some other healthier avenues had me feeling good. But I wasn’t sure if it was enough to get me to go back to announcing.
I turned down two job offers from other tracks back east this early spring. I just didn’t think I was ready to not only move cross country but to be full time announcing again. So I said no. I was honest as to why I wasn’t going and both places were really nice and said to stay in touch. But when my boss called me two weeks ago and said ‘hey were’ having a last minute racing day on August 17th do you want to come announce? I said yes right away. I wanted to make sure I could do it and see if my feeling better day to day would transfer back to announcing, where I’d had so much trouble before. Well, I got through the day. And I did pretty well calling for being off an 8 month layoff. It came back like riding a bike. Ironically the only place I struggled was doing PR announcements. The racecalls came back easily.
The itch of racecalling is back and will always be there. I’m hoping to be able to announce this winter at Portland Meadows if my schedule will allow it, I think it will. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll go back on the road again. Either way, today was fun. Today was a confidence builder. Today was a good day.