Dead insects decorate cobwebs draping from aged, teal-colored chairs in a sea of stadium-style rows. Most of the chairs are empty. A smattering of onlookers clutch betting cards.Whoa! Now, we have to tell you gentle reader(s), we were awake in English class the day they talked about foreshadowing and when you open with dead insects and cobwebs that cannot be good.
In August, the park announced it would cease live racing effective Jan. 1. The first floor will remain open for those who want to bet on simulcast races.Yeah, that's sort of like saying, "We're closing down but we'll leave the door unlocked in case you want to get in out of the rain or something. Watch our for the rats though."
The park's management and city officials seem uncertain about the facility's future.Really? You're probably the only people who are. The rest of us are all like stick a fork in it brother man 'cause it is done.
"Our city coffers will feel little to no effect from the partial closure, since GGP has been on the decline for many years," La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking said."That dump hasn't made a buck for the city in over 15 years," Hocking said. "We get more from parking meters than we ever got from idiots who bet on dog racing." Now, now Mayor Bobby, let's not disparage the voters. After all, some of those idiots who bet on dog racing probably voted for you. This is Texas after all.
"It's an economic engine," Jimmy Hayley, president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, said of the park. Hayley said it's the small things that make the park important, like jobs created for people like his grandson, who helped lead greyhounds out to the starting blocks during summers.We see. Apparently you don't talk to the Mayor very often Mr. Haley. Or perhaps you should quit going to City Council meetings drunk because it looks like your economic engine is missing a few pistons.
In August, Nick James, former executive director of the Texas Greyhound Association, claimed the closing will eliminate between 250 and 300 jobs and 11 nearby kennels. Calls to nearby kennels found otherwise, as many denied knowledge or involvement with the park."Holy crap is that place still open?" said one incredulous kennel owner who asked not to be named because his family thought he was a used car salesman. "I thought in closed down years ago."
Like previous Texas tracks that closed live racing (Corpus Christi in 2007 and Harlingen in 2009), the La Marque facility will have something to offer gamblers with the simulcast races. "They're gamblers, they gamble," said Sally Briggs, the track's general manager, who suggested that regulars would continue to frequent the park."Besides, what else are they going to spend their Social Security checks on? Food? Rent? Have you seen these people? They couldn't win a game of checkers if they played a jellyfish, if you get my drift bless their little hearts." We're providing a real service here, keeping them off the streets so they don't wander out into traffic."
Some onlookers told a different story. While they reminisced about days when the atmosphere of packed races rivaled that of any sporting event in Texas, some admitted they didn't plan to come after live racing ends."Why should I come all the way out here to watch racing on the tee vee," said one patron. "I'll just stay home and watch it on my own set soon as they tell me what channel it's on."
Well all righty then. Maybe Ms. Briggs was on to something when she said the park was keeping these people off the street. What do you think Wilson?
This senior gentleman is looking for his forever retirement home that will spoil him rotten! Wilson can live with small dogs, but not cats, and can be an only dog. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.
*Just trying to culture up the place a little. The neighbors were beginning to complain.