“Be on the lookout for the sleeper.”
Many meanings come with that advice.
Show prospect pig, lamb, and meat goat auctions prevalent now made us think of it, but the counsel applies to all of life.
Having purchased considerable livestock in six decades, we’ve generally been cost-conscious first, with quality often taking second in selection-decisions.
However, when foremost in concern has been excellence, regardless of hit-on-the-pocketbook, frequently we’ve bought the wrong one.
Specifically, we remember picking out “the best” pig and paying the highest price for it at a sale three decades ago. Another oinker at auction’s end had no takers, so we acquired it at floor-price.
Come fair time, the high-dollar-purchase was even evaluated by its breeder as “junk,” while the “cheapest sleeper” won the show hands down.
An identical situation has happened to us on both sides of the fence with horses.
When going all out to buy the “perfect horse,” without much regard for payment necessary, on more than one occasion, we’ve ended up with what turned out worthless or nearly so.
Yet, the most outstanding horses we’ve ever purchased were “sleepers” bought on the spur of the moment for very low cost, comparatively to how valuable they were to us.
In hosting 25 horse production sales, the highest priced lots many times proved to be excellent horses, but every year there were several “sleepers” that the auctioneer almost couldn’t get sold. Finally, somebody raised their hand and took home a future champion.
Makes us remember the “ugly duckling story.” While little ducks were swimming, everybody made fun of one that was different than the rest, but it grew up to be a swan, and the most beautiful of all.
Just because one isn’t noticeable, the best talker, the most handsome, athletic, and intelligent, there is value. Perhaps, rather than being a “sleeper,” it’s us who aren’t awake enough to know the difference.
Easter morning services viewed on several television channels brought the essence of a “sleeper” to the most important light.
Reminds us of Jonah 1:6 “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.” Fortunately, Ephesians 5:14: “He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you and give you light.”