SI Vault
February 25, 1991
COMMENT Old Glory and New Wounds
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February 25, 1991


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The two teams attempted to recreate a circa-1862 game devised for the ice. The players dressed in 19th-century-style uniforms, although they did wear modern skates. The bases were marked in charcoal, and the pitcher threw a leather-covered rag ball underhanded to the batter from 45 feet away. There was no sliding, for obvious reasons.

Lake Placid won both five-inning games, 3-0 and 13-0, by virtue of having the better skaters. Said home plate umpire Tom Heitz, the head librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, "If pitching is 80 percent of baseball, then skating is 80 percent of baseball on ice."

There was only one homer, by Jay Wescott of Lake Placid. In fact, he hit a frozen rope.

A Poodle Dandy

Peter proves to be the top dog at Westminster

Dog owners do not necessarily resemble their dogs. Joan Hartsock, for instance, looks nothing like a white balloon animal, which is what her exquisitely coiffed standard poodle, Peter, resembles. "I call him Peter Perfect," said Hartsock. As well she should. Last week Peter, a.k.a. Ch. Whisperwind on a Carousel, outshone 2,500 other competitors at the 115th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, at Madison Square Garden. He thus became the first of his kind—poodles, not white balloon animals—to win best-in-show since 1973.

The Westminster is the second-oldest annual sports competition in the U.S. (Only the Kentucky Derby is older.) But Westminster is as much show as competition, especially in the bench area underneath the stands of the Garden, where the dogs were bivouacked. There were fetching Afghans with babushkas tied around their heads, a line of borzois, pointers and bloodhounds waiting to use the "dogs room," vendors yelling, "Hot dogs!" and barkers selling porcelain doggie light-switch covers.

Peter, the most decorated poodle of all time, made the finals, of course, along with a toy poodle, a boxer, a Kerry blue terrier, a Scottish deerhound, an Irish water spaniel and an Old English sheepdog called Showy, who was the best canine-interest story of all, having been born in the back of her owner's car in the drive-through lane at a McDonald's. It took Dorothy Welsh, the judge for the finals, about 20 minutes to select Peter, and the crowd seemed to agree. "As poodly as any poodle I've ever seen," Welsh said.

The new champ's dignity was immediately threatened when a photographer tossed a rubber chicken drumstick across his snout to get his attention. But Peter Perfect didn't bite.

Boo-Boo by the Bay

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