3 reasons how an OTB parlor helps a PR pro out of a rut

By Jessica Levco

I wanted to have a non-millennial birthday.

No downtown bar hopping this year. I’ll skip that fancy fusion dinner. Hold the cake.

Instead, I invited (read: dragged) a group of girlfriends to an Off Track Betting parlor on a Thursday night.

So, why would I spend my twenty-something (you’ll just never know) birthday watching simulcast racing?

It’s simple: It was time to develop a vice.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud to be a millennial and love to hear all the great things people say about our generation: We’re team players. We’re smart. We volunteer.

But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the madness? Where’s the debauchery?

Our generation needs to take risks—with ourselves, our money and our Thursday nights.

I’ve been playing it safe for more than two decades. It was time to shake things up.

I put down two dollars to win on Shamrock Susie in the eighth race at Yonkers.

And then I promptly lost it—along with a few more dollars throughout the night.

But man, oh, man—was it a rush. My adrenaline soared, while my wallet deflated, as my friends and I picked horses based on silly names and yelled words like, “trifecta!” and “exacta!” at the TV screens.

We were having fun.

And if you’re working in the PR and communication field, there’s a lot you can learn from a trip to the OTB parlor, too.

Don’t believe me? Let’s make a bet:

Creative names. We’re not talking about Black Beauty. We’re talking about “Ebony on Ivory,” “Buzzies Best,” and “Cereal Lover.” If you look through a racing form, you’ll be delighted with all the puns and alliterations for the names of the thoroughbreds. This might spark some ideas for your next big headline or project.

Math woes. Yeah, yeah, we know—you hate math. But gambling won’t remind you of the Pythagorean Theorem. Instead, you’ll be calculating odds and reviewing statistics. Becoming more comfortable with numbers might help you measure the ROI on your next social media campaign.

Get out of your comfort zone. When you and your girlfriends walk into the OTB parlor, immediately, you’ll think, “Wow. I’m out of place.” It’s going to be awkward for the first 20 minutes. But if you can make chit-chat with the regulars, surely—you’ll have the confidence to waltz into your next networking event.

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