Sunday, February 3, 2013

AZ's Slant on Sunday - Man's Best Friend and Competitor

This post has been in development hell since the last Super Bowl. I am not kidding.

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing when you get an idea for a post by watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. I've either got a really wicked groove or my head was wired incorrectly at birth.

[Aside: PETA is probably going to either really really like this post or really really hate it. Hey, they're the masters of controversy, so all I'm doing is playing the same game. ;-)]

Dogs are pretty cool animals. Cats are pretty interesting too. Horses are pretty spectacular. In certain religious teachings, animals were created to serve man. Those scientist people out there believe that animals have evolved over time due to natural selection and that's why animals are so advanced in instincts and form.

In human terms, instincts usually refer to feelings and in some cases survival. Survival of the fittest: It's a sport of life. OH. SHOT OF RELEVANCE. FEEL IT.

Sure, some of these forms of sports may prove to be unethical in some standards, such as greyhound racing, bull riding, some forms of horse racing, and even those old school rodeo pig-chasing competitions. But this stuff isn't what I will be referring to in this post. I'm going to refer to the power of friendship and how they make us stronger. I'm going to use the film Rocky as an example here. Before this memorable scene, Adrian buys Rocky a dog from her pet store so he would have someone to run with. When in shape, dogs will push you to keep going when you give up. If not for that dog, I don't think Rocky would have dared to go up those steps in the first place. Maybe not, but you understand where I'm going with this. Pets can be seen as workout partners and friends that help boost one's motivation when it comes to aiming high for something.

A lot of real-life athletes own pets and even support what I'd like to call "pet equality." A lot of them are advocates for animal rescue and often try to go for runs and play games with them. It looks rather obvious that many athletes realize the importance of having a pet in one's life when it comes to competition and management of stress.

Speaking of...

When it comes to stress and the usual struggles in life, these buddies can also make you feel better. I can't begin to tell you how pleasantly surprised I was when I saw so many Facebook statuses and Tweets about this year's Puppy Bowl. I won't lie. I'm a fan of it. I remember when it was a big deal in my house at first because the late Harry Kalas did play-by-play for it and I wanted to see what was up with that. Men, this program will probably make you want to punch a wall out of cuteness in order to gain your masculinity back.'s just totally adorable, right?

 Look at this. LOOK AT THIS. It reeks of cute.

Sure, it probably isn't the absolute best alternative to "Super Sunday," but it's definitely better than watching pointless television during the day.

My point is, the animal kingdom isn't exactly a stepping stone for the human being, but they're practically equals in their own right. Think about it: In sports, humans want to work hard to be the very best at what they aim for; with that said, our natural instinct is to work out and get strong enough to take down the competition. It's in our genes, more or less. Animals don't necessarily have concrete forms of "sport," but through their instinct, they compete in what they specialize. For example, horses run. Even though it's mostly human-driven, they're still doing something natural that is in their nature: running. When it comes to something silly like the Puppy Bowl, puppies play. This is their own form of competing. The last time I checked, animals have no conscience, so they just do what their instinct tells them to do. We--with the ability of having a conscience--see their form of "instinct" and call it a sport.

At the same time, we see their efforts and it almost forces us to be better at what we do. Not only is the human body an amazing thing, the body of an animal is just as amazing. Animals (or pets in this case) are constantly evolving. They help us physically and emotionally; it's a known fact. They truly can be man's best friend and man's best competitor. I may believe in the whole "circle of life" thing, but we're all here on this earth to help each other out. We're all here to get stronger and better in life, and we're all in it together.

I was going to end this with what Bob Barker used to say at the end of every broadcast of The Price is Right, but I'll just let him do that for me.


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