Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!!! I can’t believe it! I’m a JUDGE for MangoMinster 2011!!! And not just ANY judge, mind you, but the judge for the Bad Sports! I'll get to what I think makes a Bad Sport down at the bottom of this post. But I want to explain why I'm uniquely qualified for this great honor.
Even though I won in the Athletic Sporty category, I am a particular fan of Bad Sports. Many of you know that my little big sister TaiChi won both the Readers’ Choice and the Judges’ Choice for Bad Sports last year. And even though I don’t think I have the deep-seated capacity to be a Bad Sport at heart, TaiChi was my hero. I have a great deal of respect and reverence for Bad Sports. While TaiChi is no longer with us, she spent a great deal of time passing on her years of Bad Sport knowledge to me:
Can't you just see the knowledge flowing?
Did you know that she got arrested for biting a Mormon missionary? True story. And her ability to look totally innocent after committing heinous crimes was seriously impressive. (She had just come out of Mr. Bufus’ food cupboard – I believe she still had cat food on her nose when that photo was taken.)
"What are you looking at? There's nothing to see here. Move along."
Yep! That was my little big sister!
TaiChi, however, did not come about her Bad Sportedness independently. For many years she lived with (and conspired with) Great Uncle Billy.
Billy crossed the Bridge before I had a chance to meet him, but there are epic poems commemorating his evil deeds, and people gather from near and far to hear The Tales of Billy. In fact, some people have suggested that Billy crossed the Bridge at a fairly young age because it was the only way he could escape Interpol. Billy was a toy poodle who ran an international crime syndicate out of our living room. Seriously. He was always looking for new and inventive ways to get in trouble. He was involved in the Mormon missionary episode (and is rumored to have been the ringleader) and ended up in the clink with TaiChi, but that was just one of many Truly Evil Acts committed by Billy.
Look at that face.
Your first thought might be, “Gee, he was cute. How could he possibly have been the Spawn of Satan?” Look at the red eye. Have you ever seen any of the Terminator movies?
Being a rather diminutive guy (15 lbs – a number that, ironically, is the difference in weight between Abby and myself… Hmmm…), Billy was infamous for taking on dogs of any size, although the larger the better. Once, he decided to fling himself on a Great Pyrenees. Rather than getting eaten like a sunflower seed, the Great Pyrenees just ignored him while Billy clamped on to his ear and hung there like an earring until Dad could pry his jaws loose. Billy didn’t just limit himself to dogs, though. He also liked to challenge moose (luckily the moose never took him seriously), and he was a rather vicious mouser. Billy was also famous for jumping up and biting people in the butt who turned their backs on him. Alas, we have no pictures of that.
Certainly, all of this would qualify Billy as a Bad Sport. But what made Billy one of the Greatest of All Time was his ability to sucker other, much-better behaved dogs into his evil schemes. I had an older brother named Ben, who was a very handsome and well-mannered standard poodle.
Isn't he handsome?!? Mom says I look like him - I'm so flattered by the comparison!
Anyhoo, Ben was a Very Well Behaved doggie, who had the misfortune of living in Billy's House of Crime. One night, Mom had grilled some steaks for dinner, and before Mom and Dad could eat, they got interrupted, and had to go upstairs to do something. Keep in mind that Billy was a toy poodle - even smaller than TaiChi - and certainly couldn't levitate - well, at least not to counter-height. Anyway, Mom pushed the plate of steaks to the very back of the counter so they would be 'safe' for the few minutes Mom and Dad were upstairs. Mom and Dad heard a few noises while they were upstairs, but didn't really think about it. Until they got downstairs, and the plate had been moved to the edge of the counter, and the steaks were gone. Completely gone. The only evidence that any steaks had ever been in the kitchen were a few marks on the floor and three Very Satisfied looking dogs (all of whom had beef-breath). Ben was the only one who could have POSSIBLY reached the steaks, and he certainly wouldn't have done it of his own volition. As TaiChi later told me, it was Billy who urged and cajoled Ben to steal the steaks. Yep. Billy was a Master Bad Sport.
I can only say that it is an honor to be related to such distinguished (and cute) Bad Sports. Thus, while I, myself, am not a Bad Sport, I not only have enough experience to know one when I see one, but I have the background to fully appreciate the actions of truly superior Bad Sports.
Okay, so what makes a Bad Sport, you ask?
Well, first off, if you have to ask, you probably belong in another category. However, I’ll give you a few guidelines.
If your name has been followed with the word ‘no’ so often that your name has permanently changed from (fr’instance) “Billy” to “Billy-no”, you’re a Bad Sport. If your name hasn’t actually changed, but is spoken with an exasperated sigh very frequently, you could very well be a Bad Sport, although that isn’t a guarantee.
If you spend a better part of each day scheming, you are a Bad Sport.
If you have flunked out of Puppy School (or been asked to re-take ‘Basic Obedience’ more than twice), you are in the right place.
“But Fi,” you say, “I’ve read Mango’s Most Excellent Questionnaire to help me place myself, but I’m still not sure…” No worries. I can help clarify.
If you are debating between entering as a Shameless Dog/Doggie Diva and a Bad Sport, ask yourself this: at the end of the day, is it really all about YOU or is it all about YOU dominating the world’s supply of bully sticks? If world domination figures in, you are a Bad Sport. If tiaras are involved, I would hope that you are Queen of the World, otherwise you are a Diva.
Good Old Boy/Gal vs. Bad Sport: Eh. You’re probably not a bad sport unless you are farting/snoring specifically to annoy someone else, and every dog bed in the house is your dog bed. Generally, there is a pretty extreme dichotomy between ‘Good Boy/Gal’ and ‘Bad Sport’. If you have to spend more than a second or two thinking about this, you belong in the Good Old Boy/Gal category.
Kittehs vs. Bad Sports: Sorry, but if you are meditating 20 hours a day, you just don’t have enough hours left in the day to be truly evil. Stick with the Kitteh category. I don’t care how many hairballs or other 'presents' (dead or crunchie) you have left in your servants’ shoes. That’s not being a Bad Sport, that’s just part of a kitteh's job description.
Cracker Dogs vs. Bad Sports: I will admit that there can be a fine line between being a Cracker Dog and being a Bad Sport, so I’ll spend a little time here. If you’ve been called ‘evil’ and take offense to it, you are a Cracker Dog; if, on the other hand, you have chortled and thought, “Evil? You don’t know the half of it!” it’s a good bet you are a Bad Sport. Digging holes because you can makes you a Cracker Dog. Digging holes to hide your siblings’ toys/bones makes you a Bad Sport. Running in circles for fun makes you a Cracker Dog. Running in circles to a) annoy your parents/siblings, b) keep something away from your siblings/parents, c) avoid being given medication or other things that are ‘good for you’, or d) avoid being corralled to go to the groomer/vet could qualify you as a Bad Sport. Yapping at guests does not make you a Bad Sport, biting them and being hauled off to the clink does. Shredding things simply because they are there means you are Crackers. Malicious shredding makes you a Bad Sport. Ultimately, it is all about intention. If you just do cracker things because you can, you are a Cracker Dog. If you do cracker things to achieve a greater, more diabolical purpose, you are a Bad Sport.
All that said, it is impossible to truly define a Bad Sport. Bad Sports come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. But when it comes down to it, you either are a Bad Sport, or you aren’t. And if you are really honest with yourself, you KNOW. Trust me on this.
Oh, and there is one other way to find out whether you're a Bad Sport or not: ask your siblings; even if you don't think you're a Bad Sport, your siblings will know for sure! *grin* And if you've got a sibling who is a Bad Sport but won't own up, feel free to post an entry on his/her behalf!
Good luck, and let the fun begin!!!
-Fiona, Bad Sport Judge, MangoMinster 2011
PeeEss: Given that this is the Bad Sport category, not only am I swayed by bribes, but fully expect them! ;-) I like bully sticks, and treats that can be eaten quickly before my sister steals them from me!