Friday, June 18, 2021

The Dog Drama Of Athletic Competition

TigerBlog has been meaning to tell you about the dog show all week.

It was last Saturday afternoon when he was flipping around the channels and stumbled on the Westminster Dog Show. He's seen it before, the video of dogs while being paraded by their owners. 

This time, though, he saw something he'd never seen before. It was a dog obstacle course race. It was tremendous.

First of all, there were cameras placed strategically at dog level, including inside of a circular tube through which the canines appeared to fly. Here is video of Gabby, the winner.

By the way, Gabby confirms one of TB's beliefs about dogs: The shorter the legs, the cuter the dog. 

The dog obstacle course made for incredible television. There was the thrill of victory (Gabby) and the agony of defeat (the poor little dog whose handler slipped while running alongside of him and took him out on the way to one of the jumps). 

If you don't get the reference, it's from the intro to ABC's Wide World Of Sports (if you're TB's age, those words only make you think of one thing, and you know what it is). 

The next line is: "The human drama of athletic competition." This of course was more like the dog drama of athletic competition.

The dog who got knocked over stopped briefly, looked down on his handler and basically thought "Dude, what are you doing? Do you know how hard I trained for this moment? Do you know how many dog biscuits I didn't eat? How many naps I didn't take? Be better."

Anyway, it was awesome. It was a little like a slightly more athletic version of another TB favorite: dressage, or, as he calls it, horse dancing.

What else does TB have for today?

Well, David Rosenfeld, who had been the men's basketball contact in the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications when Justin Conway was a Tiger, had a follow-up to what TB wrote about how Conway, now a physician, is pretty tall for a doctor at 6-4.

Rosenfeld emailed TB to let him know that if he thought Conway was a tall doctor, then what did he think of another former Princeton men's basketball player, Zach Finley. You remember Finley. He was a 6-10 center from South Dakota.

Today? He's a 6-10 orthopedic surgeon in New Orleans. That's a massive change in climate, by the way.

TB also has been meaning to congratulate Eric Robinson for winning a bronze medal with Team USA at the World Hockey Championships. 

Robinson, who has established himself as a steady contributor for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, had three assists in the tournament, held in Latvia. Robinson had a strong 2020-21 season, which saw him set career highs in goals (eight), assists (10), points (18), shots (75), hits (94) and blocked shots (16). He was sixth on the Blue Jackets in goals, eighth in points and ninth in assists and led the team in +/- at +6.

The U.S. team won the bronze by defeating Germany 6-1 in the third-place game. Robinson joins fellow Princeton hockey alums Jeff Halpern and Mike Condon as Americans who have won bronze medals at the World Championships.

Robinson was the captain of the Princeton team that won the 2018 ECAC title and advanced to the NCAA tournament. That 2018 team had one of the most dramatic postseason runs any Princeton team has had in the last 10 or so years, including winning the championship game 2-1 over Clarkson after the Golden Knights had tied the game in the final 10 seconds of regulation.

Robinson had 17 goals and 14 assists that year for Princeton. He's played 120 career NHL games now and has 15 goals and 15 assists, and he seems to be ready to make the next step forward in his career next season.

What else is there for this week? 

Oh yeah. TB meant to add something about John Allis, the Olympic cyclist who was in the Princeton Class of 1965. Allis cycled in three Olympic Games, the 1964 Games in Tokyo and then in Mexico City and Munich. On the plus side: He's a member of the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame. On the down side: He spent 30 years coaching the cycling team at Harvard (just kidding, just kidding). 

When TB looked Allis up, he found out that he had played on the freshman soccer team at Princeton but gave it up because he thought he'd never get serious playing time. He turned to cycling for a different challenge, and he certainly found it.

And yeah, that's about it for this week. Have a great weekend - and Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads who read this every day. And, TB supposes, even to the ones who don't.

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