"And, he's off...!" Triple Crown performance anxiety

Tom Durkin, who has been the voice of the Kentucky Derby for years, tells the New York Times that the anxiety over calling the big race has become too much:

Instead, the prospect of calling the race has, every year, prompted months of anguish as Durkin tried to muster the serenity to hold it together and conjure an accurate and evocative word picture for the chaos that is 20 horses thundering around a mile-and-a-quarter oval. Last year in Louisville, in fact, Durkin was stretched out on a psychiatrists couch days before the race undergoing hypnosis in the hope of conquering his performance anxiety.He has taken medication, tried prayer and breathing exercises, and has read everything and anything about what, for him, has been a paralyzing dread including how Sir Laurence Olivier developed stage fright in his fifties and often was shoved onto the stage.Ive even, heaven forbid, tried diet and exercise, said Durkin, a big and gregarious man.

Terrifying. How do you get to the other side of that? Good for him for opening up about it.It's such a common affliction, made worse when it's on such a big stage, and the source of one's livelihood.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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