This would be Old Dan’s last Puppy Bowl. He had been a Redbone Coonhound at a time when most of the pups were still English Bulldogs, but the game had changed. In other words, it wasn’t the same as it had once been.
“What’s most notable about this Puppy Bowl is how it’s different from the one that took place last year,” the color commentator explained to a breathless audience of stay-at-home moms and people who post on Facebook about how they’re watching the Puppy Bowl as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with what they view as an unhealthy national obsession with sports. “That’s certainly one way of putting it,” noted the play-by-play man.
Of course, Old Dan wasn’t paying attention to the commentary. He was a Redbone Coonhound, for Christ’s sake. He understood but a few words of the language, and these only in the context of performing “tricks” that led to “treats” made from reconstituted horseflesh. What Old Dan did understand was that his era had come to an end.
“Nothing but pitbulls out there now,” continued the color commentator. “Big, nasty pitbulls from the Southeastern Conference. Not the way it was back when it wasn’t like this, no sir.” “You could say that again, and I wouldn’t stop you,” added the play-by-play man. “We have three hours to fill, after all.”
“Aww Pa, do I really have to pull the trigger on Old Dan?” asked apple-cheeked assistant coach Travis Coates.
Head coach “Herc” Broadsides tousled his assistant’s hair in the most grandfatherly way imaginable. “It’s a damn shame, son, but he’s not the hound he once was. No matter how much pressure the ASPCA brings to bear on us, we can’t be giving our starting quarterback all these expensive diabetes shots and glucosamine chondroitin tablets. We’ve got a Puppy Bowl to win.”
“But Pa, can anybody really win the Puppy Bowl? I don’t even know what the hell that is,” protested little Travis.
“Neither do I, son. Neither do I. But it’s all over my goddamn Facebook feed,” Broadsides said, pressing a pearl-handled .380 ACP into the boy’s hand.
“Just do it,” whispered an advertisement for Nike shoes, and that’s exactly what our young hero did.