Service Dog Project Basketball Association / Amazing Tales of the Service Dog Project by JDR-IN
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Ipswich, MA, as the Service Dog Project Basketball Association has just completed the Final Four basketball tournament for 2013. Every game was a barnburner; without further ado, here are the results:
Game 1 – Nuppies vs. SDP Farm Animals - On paper the Nuppies didn’t have a prayer, suiting-up only three players to the seemingly invincible strength of the Farm Animals. The old adage, “never give up” became the Nuppies’ battle cry, for with Mary the Donkey having shoe problems and in foul trouble the whole game, the chickens and roosters couldn’t get off the ground, and in the end, the Nuppies won going away 58 to 34. Mariah was looking like the “Queen of the Prom” promenading for 35 points, and 27 rebounds. Captain Jack Sparrow playing with an injured wing led the Farm Animals with 20 points.
Game 2 – Chuppies vs. Big Pups BPs - This game will live in infamy, as these two powerhouses played their hearts out from start to finish. Early in the game, Oscar being very aggressive picked up his third foul and had to set out most of the first half. With Oscar out, the Big Pups were clearly in control, and once again Perry, their man in the paint, was unstoppable. At halftime, the BPs had a seemingly invincible lead of 57 to 32.
It was like the difference between night and day as the Chuppies hit the court with a vengeance, scoring the first 15 points of the second half to put the game within reach at 57 to 47. From then on, the BPs settled for a delay game and with two minutes to go they held the lead 67 to 57. Then the tide turned; on consecutive plays, Oscar stole the ball and slam-dunked it home to narrow the deficit to just six points 67 to 61. A missed shot by Lola, and a quick three by Ginger made the score 67 to 64 with just five seconds left in the game. Ebony received the inbounds pass and was immediately fouled by Elsie. At the free throw line, with two seconds to go, the game on-the-line, Ebony the top free throw shooter in the SDP Basketball Association, eyed the basket and just as she let go of the first of a one-plus-one, someone in the crowd yelled, “You’ll miss it, you’re shooting too fast.” Sure enough, Ebony was distracted by the word “fast” and her shot rolled off the rim right into Oscar’s waiting paws. In one unbelievable motion, Oscar heaved the ball for all he was worth toward the goal that seemed like a mile away. Ebony, disgusted after missing her free throw stumbled and landed on top of Oscar just as he released the ball. Meanwhile, the ball hung in the air for an eternity, then tickled through the strings to tie the game at 67 to 67. Ebony’s unfortunate mishap resulted in a foul, giving Oscar a chance to win the game in regulation if he could only make the free throw. Oscar was the worse free throw shooter in the entire league. The SDP arena was going wild; I’ve never seen anything like it, and as Oscar eyed the shot he hesitated, for there in the stands was the beautiful girl he’d briefly glimpsed so fleetingly the other day at the Ipswich Zoo. Just seeing her smile, settled his nerves, and without any further indecision he drilled the shot home giving the Chuppies a 68 to 67 win and a berth in the championship game. The BPs had blown a big lead, but they all left with their heads held high. The chuppies were deliriously happy and looked forward to tonight’s championship game with the Nuppies.
Championship Game – Chuppies vs. Nuppies
After the afternoon session, no one could predict what would happen in this championship game between the valiant young pups of these two fine squads. The whole game was nip and tuck, but in the end what will be remembered forever is Mariah’s words that ultimately decided the game’s unusual outcome. With the scored tied 99 to 99, and only a second to go, Mariah in-bounding the ball with Oscar closely guarding her, was heard by some fans saying to Oscar, “I saw you looking intently at that girl this afternoon! Are you sure you big boy you want to take me out to the prom, and not her?” Tragically an out of town referee, not hearing the whole conversation, or taking into account Mariah’s eastern accent, heard only “I’m taking you out big boy” and alertly called the technical for her illegal taunting threat. Definitely not the way to settle a championship game, but Oscar reluctantly did what he had to do and made the free throw and the game ended 100 to 99 with the Chuppies declared as the “SDP Basketball Association Champions” for 2013. Life is like that sometimes, not really fair, but the Nuppies and Chuppies knew in their hearts they both were “Champions” so the end result wasn’t that overwhelming for either of them.
An important announcement was made shortly after the finish of the game, giving the final voting for the “Most Valuable Dog” (MVD) award for the tournament. Upon hearing the beginning of the message the Chuppies and most of the crowd in the arena could sense that Oscar would be the winner. Everyone was in for a surprise when the announcer said, “The 2013 MVD award goes to Mariah of the Nuppies. Mariah graciously accepted the award on behalf of SDP, her mother and father (Noel & Bentley and her fellow Nuppies, and then said, “All of the SDP dogs are MVD’s, as we go forth to meet our destiny as either a Mobility or Service dog caring for those in need. I’m happy to win this award on behalf of those who have served in the past, and all of us who will have the privilege to serve in the future. Thank you again!” Later, at the championship awards ceremony, all the dogs shook paws, including a very happy Mariah with her friend Oscar, and thus another season came to an end. The big question in life now was not whom would win next years tourney, but who was Oscar planning to take to the prom? If not the beautiful Mariah, what would our little MVD being doing that night? That answer will be revealed in, “Oscar’s First Love” a soon to be released short story.