Pop Pop Epistle #35: Happy Birthday Asher
A very very happy birthday #1 to you. It is joy to be your Pop Pop and it has been fun to watch you grow so much over the last year.
Since everybody is completely enthralled with your beautiful red hair and since your Instagram handle is LilRedReyner I thought I would tell you the story of Big Red.
It was on June 9 that Big Red forever etched his name in history. The year was 1973 (45 years ago today) and I was not quite 16 years old. But I still remember watching along with millions of others as he galloped his way to fame and glory.
Big Red was a horse. A magnificently beautiful animal with a gorgeous coat that was tinted red who was better known to the world as Secretariat.
He became the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. And he did it in record setting fashion. Having already won The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness, it was on June 9 that he put an exclamation point on his greatness at The Belmont Stakes. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He won by an astounding record-setting 31 lengths.
In 1999, ESPN ranked Secretariat No. 35 in its list of the Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list. That’s amazing.
What was the secret to his greatness? Big Red had a big heart. Literally. An autopsy upon his death showed that his heart was two and a half times larger than that of the average horse, which no doubt contributed to his extraordinary racing abilities.
This is my prayer for you. That God would give you a big heart. And that God would fill that heart with a huge dose of compassion. And a tremendous amount of joy. And a prodigious helping of faith. And that your big heart would overflow such that others are mightily influenced and blessed by the spillover. Your nickname may be LilRed but I anticipate that the Lord will use you in big ways as you seek after Him.
Never ever forget that you are very very loved!