- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Dog days at the Garden
Dandie Dinmonts wanted upstairs in ring seven, please!" boomed the loudspeaker above the din. Down in the basement of Madison Square Garden 2,537 dogs of 105 breeds snapped, snarled or slept on their benches, sending up a cacophony of canine noise that deafened the ears. A terrified-looking little old lady tightly holding a terrified toy dog threaded her way through the jostling crowd of dogs and people. "They'll never get me to come again," she said with conviction.
True to form and with its normal healthy complement of complaints and confusion, the 79th staging of the nation's most important dog show—the Westminster—got under way last week. Upstairs in the green-carpeted judging rings all was quiet; winners were modest and losers seemed brave. But down below where the stale air, the noise and the waiting wore on the nerves of man and dog alike, feelings were stripped of pretense. Victors gloated openly, the vanquished groaned and the dogs exploded into a yowling bedlam. There were all kinds of dogs in all kinds of moods; sad dogs and happy dogs. There were busy dogs; dogs tasting free food samples; dogs having their portraits painted and being photographed; dogs asleep; dogs being groomed and powdered, scolded and praised.
Suddenly a rumor bigger than the rest bounced across the basement—"The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are here!" They had been discovered unsuccessfully incognito and unattended in the pug section, happily chatting with the line of knitting ladies in charge of the pugs.
"We own two, you know," said the duke pleasantly, speaking of his pet pugs, Trooper and Dizzy. The ladies of the pug section beamed. "Go everywhere with us, they do," added the duke. His Highness leaned over and tickled a sour-faced pug under the chin with approving familiarity. He should not have done it. It was the signal. "Oh!...mine too!" came the ecstatic squeals. Cages were flung open, pets plucked up and bosom-borne hopefully toward the laying on of royal hands. The duchess made the first move to get out and, apologizing, they hurried to the sanctuary of a ringside box.
Just before midnight on the second day a barrel-chested bulldog named Kippax Fearnought came out of its continuous sleep long enough to be picked as best dog in the show (see page 25). Thankfully, as the winner lumbered off to a TV show, the rest of the dogs and their owners went home. By the time the white-coated cleaners had moved in, the Garden engineer's cat was out of hiding and the basement was back to normal.
Boxing commissions in two states distinguished themselves last week, one by getting fired and the other by reacting instantly to the magic of a name.
The fired commission was Pennsylvania's, where Governor George M. Leader ousted its three members entire in the first step of his crusade to clean up boxing. Then, one by one, he began dropping shoes, their thuds echoing hollowly in the offices of Herman (Muggsy) Taylor, Philadelphia promoter for the International Boxing Club ( James D. Norris, President, and Frank (Blinky) Palermo, entrepreneur).
The governor's first shoe was Sleepy Jim Crowley, one of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen, lately selling anthracite and helping run a Scranton television station. The governor appointed Jim to the boxing commission with intimations that he would be chosen chairman.