and cowgirls in town for the Salinas Rodeo in Salinas, Calif.,
recently had me thinking of my college rodeo days. My
collegiate team members and I took competition very seriously
back then. We were highly motivated by the axiom (which is
still inscribed on one piece of my gear), "Luck is when
preparation meets opportunity."
me, we had plenty of opportunities for which to prepare as we
took off every weekend hauling horses across New Mexico, Texas
and Oklahoma. Success in competition came from practice. Every
day. We wanted to be ready for what came our way, be it a
150-pound man-eating billy goat or a horse that suddenly came
were not prepared, we missed key opportunities to perform at
our best. And sometimes—even when we were ready for our
events—opportunities eluded us. Cowboys call it the luck of
cowgirls also had to maintain our strength and stamina for
competition. And that meant being alert to every nutrition
opportunity (and detour) that came our way.
truck stops, for example. There’s a story of a young woman
who looks at the menu in such an establishment and sees two
salads listed. One is a "tossed salad." The other is
a "tossed salad deluxe."
is the tossed salad deluxe?" she asks her server.
hesitation, the waitress replies, "Tomato."
night as my traveling companions and I journeyed across west
Texas, we stopped at a restaurant outside of Amarillo. It was
the famous "Big Texan — home of the 72-ounce
steak." (It also had a horse motel for our tired steeds.)
addition to its regular menu, this restaurant offered (and
still does, according to their website) a "free" 4
plus-pound steak dinner to anyone who can eat the entire meal
— including shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, and a
buttered roll — in one hour. (Ambulance ride to the hospital
probably not included.)
contest, we decided as we ordered smaller fare. It was not an
opportunity we were prepared to accept.
longer chasing animals from a galloping horse or flying out of
a saddle to tie a goat. But life continues to provide
opportunities for which I need to be prepared, health-wise and
example, a recent article by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) seeks to define "powerhouse"
vegetables: those most strongly associated with a reduced risk
for chronic disease. In the top standings are cruciferous
vegetables such as watercress, cabbage, kale and arugula.
Green leafy vegetables such as chard, beet greens and spinach
are also top contenders.
improve our chances for lifelong health when we prepare and
eat more of these types of foods each day, experts suggest.
Maybe I will look for more of those opportunities.