It’s a nice thought isn’t it? Three minutes to change a life.
A life can change in three minutes. It can be born. It can die. It can be injured. It can win. It can lose. Three minutes is a long time. About as long as it takes me to fill out a lottery ticket.
But it was not luck that got Blake Shinn on the back of that fantastic ride. And it took him a hell of a lot longer than three minutes to climb his way up there.
This year was young Shinn’s third stab at the Melbourne Cup. He rode in his first while still an apprentice. The apprenticeship for jockeys now takes four years. Four years of riding track work in the pitch black and cold. Four years of shovelling, cleaning, sweating and dreaming. And that was before he qualified.
The average qualified jockey can expect to ride between ten and twenty races a week. All on different horses (with different talents and temperaments), all in different conditions, in many different states and most at different weights . Shinn has only been fully qualified for a year. In that time he’s had his share of races. He’s won more than he’s lost. He’s spent some time being applauded and some time being berated and suspended (indeed his record was once referred to as ‘dismal’). He’s listened to instructions from trainers and stewards, while on a daily basis he’s placed his fifty kilo body on the back of a five hundred kilo beast.
It’s a fair guess then, that Blake Shinn has always had this most famous of three minute moments, somewhere in his mind.
So here is the real question. Did this three minutes change his life or did his life change this three minutes?
Be careful how you answer. The response you choose is telling. Do you determine your destiny or does your destiny drive you?
I bet I know how Blake Shinn would answer.