Thursday, October 2, 2008

Michigan beats Wisconsin and Other Minor Miracles

To summarize unprecedented recent events:

1. Washington Mutual failed, in the largest bank failure ever

2. Michigan beat Wisconsin in college football

3. Sobo had a great dryland dog sled run

Sobo and Acadia hang out on the picket line

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It's a time to begin training the dogs, get back out and begin running dog sledding tours, rides and programs, crisp cool nights, stunning fall colors, and....College Football. Much like my sister, Jenny, I love college football, especially Michigan football. As many of you know, I have two undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Washington (for the record, I usually root against the Washington Huskies, however, given their pitiful performance in recent years, I almost feel obligated to root for them). With the recent coaching changes, losses to Utah and Notre Dame, and a Michigan offense that is causing Bo Schembechler to roll over in his grave, I've frequently been disappointed in Michigan this season.

If fall is one of my favorite seasons, it's also a favorite season for our sled dogs. The last day of summer and first days of fall come none to quickly for the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team of sled dogs. As they not so patiently awaited the cooler days of fall to arrive, all of the dogs were struck by a severe case of the "zoomies." One of the surest cures for the "zoomies" is a nice dryland dog sled run. Lucky, dogs, a Yappy Hour dog sled ride was scheduled. As we cruised down the trail through the brisk fall air, I could almost hear the dogs singing, in the words of Bruce Springsteen, "Baby, we were born to run..."

Born to Run

And run they did. In lead, we had the ever dependable and very hard working, Zoe (aka Zoedel, Zoey-Bug, Noodle-Bug, and Princess Zoina). Zoe is my "Brown Eyed Girl." Proven in harness, Zoe is the dog I go to when the game is on the line. She never fumbles the ball and much like the great Michigan running back (now in the pros), Michael Hart, she is the heart and soul of our dog team.

In lead next to Zoe, we had Sobo. Ah, what to say about Sobo? Sobo has all of the tools and a great build for a sled dog but his head is not always in the game, shall we say. Much like Michigan managed to lose to Appalachian State last season with all of the tools on board to beat them and a prediction to win by three touch downs, Sobo frequently manages to either just squeeze by or manages to, as I like to say in reference to Michigan football, "prong it in" late in the game. During today's Yappy Hour dog sled ride, Sobo actually surprised me. I couldn't have been more surprised had Michigan beat Wisconsin. Oh wait, Michigan did beat the then undefeated Wisconsin Badgers this past weekend after "pronging it in" to an underwhelming Notre Dame team the week before. In fact, Sobo has been surprising me on all of our runs early this fall. He's working much harder than he has worked in past seasons and really seems to be developing some drive to go along with his legs which go for miles.

Sobo says: "Pet me, I'm pretty"

Sobo peers through the fence

In wheel, behind our lead dogs, we had the teenie tiny terror (aka T-Bone) who is, despite the odds and not having a physical structure that particularly favors dog sledding, one of my hardest working dogs. Indeed, T-Bone gets so excited as he goes down the trail that he yips and squeeks. In his yips and squeeks, I think I may have heard him humming along to "I'm a hard workin' man" by Brooks and Dunn.

Next to T-Bone in wheel, we had the Big White Dog (aka Okemo, Okimer, the Big White Polar Bear). Okemo is large and in charge. We frequently refer to him as a "moose" due to his large size and power. As we traveled down the trail, Okemo sang along to Bob Seger's "Like a Rock, I was Strong as I could Be..." Okemo, much like the nose tackle on a football team, is our fastest sled dog....when he's eating. The rest of the time, Okemo is my fullback; the power dog; the one I count on to get us the first down in short yardage situations. He'll carry the other dogs on his back, if he has to.

Okemo gets harnessed

Along for the Yappy Hour dog sled program but not on the run, we had "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" four month old, Siberian Husky puppy, Acadia. Acadia is our new recruit. We're excited about Acadia's prospects in harness and her lead dog potential. We expect that pretty soon she may be quarterbacking this team to victory.


The view from behind