Why Dogs Like Sports

(As told to Brian Hill by a cocker spaniel from Phoenix named Patches.) At our house, we watch a lot of sports on TV. When I was a puppy, I thought this was a big waste of a nice sunny day. After all, it meant less time available for playing outside in the yard or going to the dog park. But as I’ve matured (the other day I saw my reflection in the window and was shocked to see I have gray in my muzzle), I’ve begun to see the wisdom of spending the afternoon on the comfy sofa watching a game. Some people think dogs can’t see TV or understand what’s going on. That’s nonsense. The only thing we can’t do is call and purchase the products we see on infomercials, but a lot of that stuff seems like junk anyway. Myself, I even figured out how to order pay-per-view using the remote.

The great thing about TV sports is the variety. If I feel like a nap, there are quiet sports like golf, where after about an hour or so, both I and my master are taking a nice snooze. Football on the other hand, is really exciting for a dog. When we have people over and it’s the fourth quarter of a game and they begin concentrating on the TV screen, it’s a piece cake for me to sneak around and steal their snack foods. They don’t even notice the food is gone most of the time. To you canines who may be novices at this, the key is to steal foods that are soft or those that can be eaten in a couple of gulps, before anyone sees you. Avoid cruchy chips. Cheese and cold cuts make great candidates for theft. On the other paw, one time during a playoff game I was able to take a whole pizza off the table and eat it. I still remember that pizza. Pepperoni. Yum.

When their team makes a touchdown, they all jump up and yell at the screen. This is the one time I don’t get scolded for running around hysterically and barking. Yep, I’d have to say football is my favorite sport. The only thing I object to is something called the “Dawg Pound” at the Cleveland Browns games. This is a section of the stadium where fat guys dress up in costumes that are rude caricatures of the nobility and grace of real dogs. I find that to be a species-insensitive stereotype.

But I love following the flight of the ball on TV, no matter what the sport. Tennis is confusing because lately so many of the players make this barking sound when the smack the ball. I’ve tried to decipher what the barks mean in canine language, but it seems like it’s just gibberish.

I’ve only watched hockey once but didn’t like it much. The little rock thing they smack around goes too fast to keep an eye on and I don’t like ice because it reminds me of the time we went up the snow for the holidays and my paws got too cold. I much prefer a trip to a warm beach. The next best thing is watching beach volleyball. Big ball, easy for me to follow on the screen. I’ve even seen spectators bring their dogs to tournaments at the beach. Now that’s a civilized sport.

Brian Hill is the author of Over Time, a novel about Green Bay Football; Money, Love and Football: All the Important Things in Life.

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