Bob Mazeroski: On the Track to Heaven
By Jonathan Cyprowski
The 700 Club
Bob Mazeroski began training racehorses when he was 12-years-old. That’s when his step father became disabled and could no longer exercise the horses he owned. So the responsibility fell on a young man, who had never even ridden a horse.
“He smacked the horse on the rear end and that was my introduction to training and driving; and I began to go around that track faster than I wanted. I think I was zigzagging all over the place because I was so nervous, you know, turning the lines every which way. But even though it scared me to death, I fell in love with it; and I knew from that moment on, that that’s what I wanted to do with my life," Bob said.
A party lifestyle in college caused Bob to fail most of his classes. Before long, he quit school and began working fulltime at a nearby racetrack. That’s where he met Tracey. The couple quickly married and Bob’s career took off. It started with a new job at an elite training center in Pennsylvania and a horse named Dontellmenomore.
“Dontellmenomore ended up being the number one horse in the world," Bob said. "So, it was like a childhood dream, and everything - my goals all came to pass in that one horse.”
Bob had created a legend, and soon the thrill of winning became an addiction.
“It was the power of the animal at high speed, the competition factor and even the high, if you will, of winning,” Bob said.
Winning wasn’t the only addiction Bob picked up.
“It got to a place where I was actually drinking by 9:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m.; drinking all day, still able to function - race horses at night. And then hit the clubs after the races, and party till they shut down,” Bob said. “I was coming home sick, in front of my children, being verbally abusive to my wife, running around, proving unfaithful.”
Tracey was concerned for her own safety and that of her two young daughters. One Sunday afternoon, Bob drank 14 cans of beer while washing the car. Tracey was done with the marriage.
“I just had hit a point where I couldn’t take it anymore," Tracey said. "He began to get sick again, violently ill, in the bathroom. I had to basically lie to my children again, 'Daddy’s just got the flu.' I just got tired of covering it up and playing the game and pretending everything was OK; when really, I was dying inside."
“I didn’t understand that we were leaving, leaving,” said their daughter, Ashley. “I would always ask my mom, ‘Well, when’s Dad coming?’”
“She didn’t say we’re going to get a divorce,” said their other daughter, Lindsey, “but she said, 'Me and you and Ashley are going to get our own house, and I’m going to get a job.’ It was her nice way of telling us that it was permanent.”
“It then hit me - she had taken the girls and had left,” Bob said. “She moved in with her mother back in Ohio, which was about an hour away, and we were separated close to six months. During that time, the drinking got even worse.”
As Bob’s addiction accelerated, Tracey was looking for answers in her own life. She attended a Bible study with her mother. Later that night, Tracey picked up a Bible, and her life changed forever.
“I opened that Bible up and I just began to weep - and there were tears literally covering both pages of that Bible. I mean, they were soaked,” Tracey said. “I just remember saying, ‘God, if you are really real; if you truly have sent your son here to save me, which I had heard in the Bible studies, make yourself real to me.’ And I just remember the presence of God so strong and I remember not feeling alone.”
As she began to live out her new faith, Tracey tried to reach out to Bob. But he refused to listen.
“I can remember conversations on the phone where I would say the most hateful and cruel things to her,” Bob said. “I remember one day specifically saying, and I know she can tell you this, ‘you get it through your head; I just don’t love you,’ and hung up on the phone.”
Then one morning he woke up covered in blood.
“I woke up to dried blood all over me, all over my arm, hand, the sheets; and I instantly went into a panic,” Bob said. “So I got out of bed and I began to walk through, trying to figure out what had happened. Did I kill somebody? Did I get in a fight? What happened to me? I couldn’t figure it out. As I went into the kitchen of my home, this double pane window that was above the kitchen sink was gone; it had a big hole in it. It became evident that what I had done the night before was come home in a rage and put my fist and my arm through those two sheets of glass. Cut myself badly and didn’t even know it. And went in and just passed out in the bed and laid there bleeding.”
After that experience, Bob realized how serious his problems had become. To add to his drinking problem, he had stopped paying his bills. With the utilities shut off and no one around, Bob cried out to God.
“One night in the darkness of my home, I knelt down and just began to cry,” Bob said, “began to talk to God, and began to say, ‘God, if you are real, make yourself real to me; change my life and put the pieces back together, because I don’t want to go this way anymore.’”
The next day Bob told Tracey what he had done.
“We began to talk and it was shortly thereafter that we got back together and God began to heal our marriage - put all the pieces back together,” Bob said. “But another great thing in that story is - when I prayed that prayer, God took all of that desire for alcohol away.”
Not long after, on the way to the winter training facility in Pinehurst, N.C., Bob felt an overwhelming sense that he needed to walk away from horse racing. Several hours into the trip he turned around and headed home to resign.
“I called the owner of the horses and told him,” Bob said, “and he thought I was just absolutely crazy.”
After Bob left horse racing he continued to study and grow closer to the Lord. Today, Bob and Tracey are pastors of a church in Weirton, West Virginia.
“God has answered the prayers of a praying wife,” Tracey said. “As I prayed for my husband and interceded, even though I saw no results, He knew that everything hung in the balance. He was faithful to do it.”
“No marriage is beyond help; I can prove that. No sinner is too big or too evil for God to save. Nothing is impossible with God,” Bob said. “I love the verse in Genesis 50 that says what the enemy meant for evil, God used it for good. And I’m living proof of that. And if he did it for me, he can do it for anybody.”
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