What could have been: UWEC athletics

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022


All throughout the pandemic, I have been racking my brain for ways to fill the void sports have left in society. Everything from social distancing sports to online gambling has crossed my mind, but nothing has seemed right.

Finally, I have come up with the perfect plan.

The answer was clear this whole time: According to CBS, dogs are not as susceptible to the oronavirus as humans are.

Armed with as many dogs as possible and more than a little inspiration from the “Air Bud” movie franchise, it is finally time to make dog sports a reality.

A dog athletic association comes with obvious potential PETA-related repercussions.

However, these issues can be easily solved with treats, toys and whatever else the Dr. Dolittle-esque dog whisperer I plan to hire says our canine athletes desire.

Since the dogs would be generously compensated with bones, fire hydrants and mail deliverers, it will be a professional league — which means we need sponsors.

Who wouldn’t want to sponsor a dog sports league. It would be incredibly adorable, reeling everyone in to watch it. This would result in a lot of ad revenue.

Everyone from Bush’s Beans to Tito’s Vodka would likely jump at the opportunity to support a humane, lucrative dog sports business.

Now, to discuss potential events for the dogs.

Other than having hands, wearing or tying ice skates and properly using a toilet, dogs can do just about anything.

Hockey is out of the question. Hilarious and cute — perhaps — but also incredibly dangerous and logistically impossible.

Basketball seems tough. I was surprised to find out dogs had trouble holding a ball, dribbling a ball and shooting a ball — all of which are important parts of basketball. Turns out the movie “Air Bud” lied to us.

Frisbee is an obvious option. The whole throwing thing might be a challenge, but they are way too good at catching to let that go to waste.

Soccer is a given as well. Dogs do not have hands — a hindrance in most sports, but an advantage in soccer.

Baseball would be ridiculous. Hitting, pitching and wearing mitts? Nope.

As the “Puppy Bowl” has shown us, dog football is unimaginably cute, but almost all the integrity of the sport goes out the window.

Tennis and every other paddle or stick related sport, as well as eSports, are impossible. I can not emphasize this enough — dogs don’t have hands.

The problem with dogs is that the sports we know and love were not created for quadrupedal beings. Without hands, dogs are at a heavy disadvantage.

If our pandemic pushes into the distant future — or the league gains popularity — monkeys or squirrels could fill in where dogs lack genetic abilities.

Walruses would be fantastic at volleyball and water polo, perhaps even basketball with enough practice.

In times such as these, we are forced to adapt. In all honesty, I think animal athletics should have been done long ago, pandemic or no pandemic.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].