It’s time to announce the winner of the “Ricky’s Favorite Things” playoffs, and I have to admit, I’m feeling pret-ty guilty — for two reasons. One: Nepotism. Yes, the winner was Matt, my oldest son — with a perfect score of 30. I obviously should have realized that in a contest of this nature, family members would have a huge advantage, and I should have barred them from entering. My apologies to the droves* of non-family Beagle Man followers who submitted brackets; it won’t happen again. Then again, you might ask, if the answers were so obvious to family members, why was Matt able to post a perfect score, but not Greg, his brother? (Robby, of course, did not enter. I’ve learned that if the post isn’t about him, he stops reading after the first paragraph.) And herein lies the second reason I feel so guilty: Greg got the championship game wrong
because I — inadvertently, of course — totally misled him.
Below, the round-by-round pairings, and how they played out:
Clods of grass (lawnmower) vs. Country music: I like to think Ricky loves country music the way I do, but there’s actually no evidence to support this. On the other hand, he would kill for those tasty clumps the lawn guys leave behind. WINNER: CLODS OF GRASS
Eating (anything) vs. Getting toweled off: Blowout city. WINNER: EATING
Going for a walk vs. His crate: By and large, Ricky’s not a huge fan of exercise. WINNER: CRATE
Jumping in water vs. Politics: Ricky will chase another dog to the water’s edge — and then jam on the brakes. The only time he actually goes in the water is when he falls in from the edge of the pool — and then he becomes frantic and can’t get out fast enough. Politics, on the other hand, well — you’ve read his Roof Rack Reports. WINNER: POLITICS
Playing with other dogs vs. Riding in car: He likes playing with other dogs. He loves riding in the car. WINNER: RIDING IN CAR
Seeing family after vacation vs. Sleeping: Here’s where both Carol and Greg slipped up. Oh, they’ll argue with me. They like to think that spotting us when we get back from a trip is Ricky’s favorite thing — and he does get awfully excited, slobbering kisses all over our faces with his tail a-waggin’. But — I’ve also seen the times, when he’s got a real good sleep going, that he’ll open one eye, watch us come in from the garage . . . and go right on snoring. This one went to overtime. WINNER: SLEEPING
Snow vs. Staying in motels: I was constantly amazed and impressed, during both LA/XC-1 and LA/XC-2, how eagerly Ricky explored new motel rooms and how quickly he got himself acclimated in each new Best Western or La Quinta. But if you’ve ever seen him bound, dolphin-style, through new-fallen snow higher than he is tall, you’d know it’s no contest. WINNER: SNOW
Taking a bath vs. Visits to the vet: This looked like one of those contests in which neither team wanted to win. While Ricky will stall at the bottom of the stairs to the vet, he’ll actually run and hide when it’s bath time. WINNER: VET
Clods of grass vs. Eating: A confusing matchup, since what he likes to do, of course, with clods of grass is to eat them. Nonetheless, the whole trumps the part in this one. WINNER: EATING
Crate vs. Politics: Crate pulls away in the fourth quarter. WINNER: CRATE
Car vs. Sleeping: Another tough matchup in the Elite Eight. Again: What Ricky does 99% of the time in the car is sleep. Here’s the litmus test, though: If he’s dead asleep on the couch in the playroom, and I open the door to the garage, and then open the door to the Jeep — he’ll run for the Jeep. WINNER: CAR
Snow vs. Vet: Vet only escaped the first round because it had such a soft opponent. No match for snow. WINNER: SNOW
Eating vs. Crate: Sure, he loves his crate. But here we are in the semi-finals, and eating has yet to be truly tested. WINNER: EATING
Car vs. Snow: Not as much of a blowout as the other semi, but Car is still able to rest its starters over the last five minutes. WINNER: CAR
Eating vs. Car: Here’s where I feel bad for misleading Greg. Sometime after returning from LA/XC-2, amazed by how well a beagle dog reacted to over 8,000 miles in the shotgun seat, I impetuously stated, in Greg’s presence, that Ricky would choose riding in the car over anything — including eating. Sometime later, I recanted — but I suppose Greg wasn’t around for that. I got to thinking that during LA/XC-1, before I put the gate up closing off the cargo space and his food supply, Ricky spent every waking moment trying to wangle his way back there. And that on the cross-country trip recently completed, the moment I’d go behind the car to prepare his meal, he was out the front passenger door like a shot. Sorry, Greg. WINNER: EATING.
And thank you all* for entering.
* “Droves,” in this instance, will be defined as two or more
* “All” will be defined as greater than four but less than six