Saturday, March 18, 2006

Go, Taliban, Go!

Today the part of the Taliban is being played by George Washington University. Moose likes them because their coach is a passionate black guy with a strong commitment to giving players from the wrong side of the tracks a chance to play ball and earn a degree (though she was bothered by stories this week suggesting that a few important corners had been cut to get some of his guys admitted to college). Goose doesn't like them because they beat the Terps twice in the past two seasons, but Moose points out that everybody beats the Terps lately--including Manhattan, today, in the first round of the NIT tournament. They yelled a lot during that one, so I spent a lot of time out in my yard. It's a beautiful day today, and now that my energy is back I have some catching up to do--security checks, fish-kissing, rolling in the spring mud. We're going for a walk soon so that everyone will know that the mayor of Sligo Creek Trail (that would be ME) is back on the job. I have to make sure all the other dogs remember who's in charge.

The Taliban are down by 11 at the half, and Goose is making me goulash. I'm still refusing to eat my dogfood, which is forcing my moms to get creative in the nutrition department. Recently I've also turned up my nose at rice and Cheerios, so they decided to try something with pasta. Moose persists in giving me pills hidden in peanut butter. I've tried to resist, but I am inordinately fond of peanut butter, as Moose well knows. Goose hides pills in pieces of chicken or crunches them up and stirs them into things when she thinks I'm not looking, so I've stopped eating oatmeal in an effort to avoid my tinkle pills. I am a willful little animal, and even though I've begun to suspect that the pills are actually helping me I'm reluctant to let my moms win the contest we've got going on. But I am looking forward to my goulash.

I don't mean to brag or anything, but I think the Terps could have used some of my willfulness this season. Nik Caner-Medley showed flashes of determination and DJ Strawberry proved he could be a scrappy player when he wanted to be, but as a team and over the course of the season they just couldn't sustain a strong fighting spirit. My moms make jokes about how close the word "terrapins" is to the word "terriers." "They really played like terriers tonight, Rox," they'll say after an impressive effort against a great team. They laugh and recall my epic battle many years ago with a possum that I cornered underneath the deck at the back of our yard. I squared off against it and barked and barked and barked and barked, and the wooden deck amplified the sound of my barking as midnight approached and Moose started worrying about what the neighbors would think. They tried everything to lure me back inside, including hooking up the garden hose (in February) and spraying me right in the face, but I wouldn't back off. It wasn't until they thawed out a piece of chicken and cooked it in the microwave that I came out from under the deck long enough for Moose to grab hold of me and drag me, covered in mud, back into the house for a bath--and a piece of chicken. That's what it means to fight like a terrier.

And maybe this is what our new normal is going to be like: taking the good days when they come and reveling in the fun we have together, figuring out how to make the good days better, fighting the battles we need to fight, searching the internet for homemade dogfood recipes. The Taliban are down by 15, but they haven't quite fighting. Neither have we. I ate two bowls of goulash. Score one for the mommies and for their hungry girl.

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