In order to win at the dog track, a greyhound handicapper has to keep his wits about him. He has to focus on the program, then the race, then take notes after the race before he cashes his ticket or goes over why his ticket was a loser.
It’s hard to do this at a noisy track where hundreds of people are talking, yelling, arguing and cheering on their dogs. It’s even harder to do this if you bring your kids with you, but many people do just that. I’m a parent and I’ve taken my kids to the track more than once, but never when I was seriously handicapping. Here’s why.
If you’re a decent parent, whenever your kids are with you, a big part of you is focused on them. It’s only natural and it’s a good thing. Kids need a lot of attention and their safety and well-being should be our main concern at all times.
However, this just doesn’t work when you’re trying to handicap a race. I’ve seen fathers – and mothers, too – so deeply involved in their programs that they didn’t notice that their toddler was wandering away. Dog tracks are pretty safe places, but I wouldn’t let my young children wander around one on their own. It’s just common sense to make sure that your kids are by your side and under your eye whenever you’re in a crowd.
I think some parents bring their kids to the dog track because they feel guilty about going so often and leaving the kids behind. If that’s the case, maybe they should rethink whether the dog track has taken over too much of their lives.
You can’t raise a family if you’re never there. Maybe it’s time to take a day off from the track and spend it with your family. Maybe, better yet, you should designate one weekend day for family outings or just spending time together. And it’s also only fair that your spouse should be able to have some time off from the responsibility of the kids too, so don’t forget to make time for him or her too.
If you want to take your kids to the track, go as a family and focus on the kids. Don’t handicap heavily while you’re there. Either get the program early and put your bets down right when you get there, or just bet for fun. Let your kids pick numbers or colors or names.
Don’t bet too much. Just have fun with your kids and save the heavy handicapping for when you go by yourself. Balancing family and greyhound handicapping isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you do it right, you can be a winner at the track – and at home.