Racing Stripes is the title. It’s an old movie, released in 2005 (5 years is a long time now a days, isn’t it?). I watched it on HBO the other night and man!!!!! It was really inspiring… Truly, life changing if one manages to read its message without getting lost amidst the cute graphics, slapstick situations and a catchy background score.
The protagonist is a zebra who was abandoned (accidentally perhaps) by a travelling circus that is rescued by a retired race horse trainer. (Forgive me for not including names in the narration… remembering them have never been my forte). The trainer brings him home, to an ailing and semi neglected farm inhabited by a wonderful bevy of talking animals. His co inhabitants try their best to make him comfortable and acclimatize him to the easy life in the farm. One day he casually happens to see the Race course that runs alongside the border of the farm. He gets quite excited, seeing the galloping horses, the drive of the Jockeys, flash of the camera bulbs, din and the bustle and the thumping excitement of thorough bred horse racing. The poor thing believes that he is one of them convinces himself that he is destined to be a race winner. Very soon, he takes to racing full time around the farm. He even races against the mailman, the flock of visiting birds and even the young foals practicing on the other side of the fence.
His enthusiasm catches the fancy of the trainer’s daughter whose greatest ambition was to become a jockey. But she was strongly forbidden from riding as her mother had died in a racing incident- the tragic event that had led to the Trainers retirement and his self imposed exile from the course. The young girl and the zebra form a team and they start training together. The trainer comes to know eventually and though he tries his best to stop them, their enthusiasm finally wins him over.
Lot of things happens in quick succession. An old race track gambler sees the duo practicing and comes over to support the team. The thorough breeds, threatened by the progress shown by the zebra across the fence tell him what he really was and convinces him that a clumsy Zebra can never win against race horses. Though our hero gets totally de motivated and almost gives up, his friends come together to convince him that he has a winner’s heart and that was all that mattered, when it comes to winning and losing. Braving direct attacks by the horses and the jeers and insults of the race course authorities, the zebra- girl team gets into the race….
In a nerve racking heart thumping climax that takes up almost 20 minutes… the duo, beating all odds , challenges and even foul play by the competitors, go on to win the prized trophy. The last scenes had me sitting at the edge of the sofa, biting my nails and cheering loudly as “Racing stripes” crosses the finishing line first.
A wonderful movie…. It’s more convincing than any book or training (even mine… ha ha). Tells us that though genes and pedigree matter… attitude and hard work matters more… and with the heart of a winner, even a clumsy zebra can outperform any thorough bred…. Any day…
Don’t miss this movie and watch it with your kids….