Saturday, January 29, 2011
not for the squeamish
Verne: It's a glorious day here for the first annual Poop-Scooping Tournament, and it promises to be a day of exhilarating competition. As a new event our viewers may be unaware of how it works, and what to watch for as our competitors play the game.
Earl: That's right Verne. Poop-Scooping can be full of surprises. Here's a quick run down of how the event is played, and how it's scored. Let me start with the fact that it's an annual competition. Dog poop, or terds as the professionals prefer to refer to them, goes through stages of decomposition. It takes a trained eye to recognize these different stages, bringing a sharper edge of competition into the mix.
Verne: Exactly. And we've got the perfect yard for the tournament this year. Leaves that fell after the last raking of the season serve as extraordinary camouflage for the terds, making it difficult to distinguish between old and new terds.
Earl: Indeed. Now our two players are given free run of the yard, and the object is to accumulate the most points by scooping terds that vary in age, size, and possible non-poop content. I understand that this yard is the dumping ground for three dogs, which should make for some highly unpredictable scoring. The players want to cover the territory as quickly as possible, and are free to review the ground already scooped by the opponent in case terds were missed. But here's an interesting twist, Verne. Even though this is a competition, a degree of cooperation is necessary. The players are responsible for keeping the terd barrel as close to them as possible. Seasoned players have learned through some tense rounds that keeping the barrel within reach of both of them facilitates heightened competition. It's a fascinating aspect to the game.
Verne: There are a number of strategies employed by our players toward wining this game. The most apparent to viewers will be the degree to which a player loads their shovel before heading to the barrel. Obviously the fewer trips made to the barrel cuts down on the transit time. But the flip side of that strategy is that when the shovel is overly full, care must be taken not to spill the terds that have been scooped. A full shovel slows the trip to the barrel, and that can be a hindrance.
Earl: Right Verne. Here's how the scoring works. Points are allocated for the following: number of terds scooped; variety of terds in terms of age and stages of decomposition; non-poop content in the terds, and the number of times the terd barrel is moved. Additional points are awarded for retrieving terds missed by the opponent. Demerits are given for dropping terds after scooping, and double demerits are given if a shovel loses its content on the way to the barrel. Demerits are also given each time a scooper steps in a pile of terds. A shoe-cleaning demerit is assessed at the completion of the round. It's a complex system of scoring, requiring a panel of judges to be extremely observant.
Verne: It looks like our players are getting in position to start the game. They'll have twenty minutes to prove who is the best poop-scooper among the players who qualified for this tournament.
Earl: The judges are taking their seats. The referee is positioning the terd barrel and the scoopers are gripping their tools, ready for action. Let's watch.
(the sound of a whistle indicates the start of the game)
Earl: Anne is off to a cautious start. It appears that she's scouting the ground to identify the location of the terds before he swoops in for the scoop. Ken, on the other hand, is using the one-terd approach, scooping as he encounters terds. There are pros and cons to both strategies.
Verne: That's true, Earl. And Ken is the first to the barrel! Listen to his fans cheer him on!
Earl: Anne's not far behind. She's scooped several piles, and it looks like she's got some variety in her shovel!
Verne: Look! Ken's found a pile of terd with non-poop content! Look at the mischievous grin on his face as he raises his shovel and turns it to show to Anne. He's even shaking his hips in a sort of victory dance!
Earl: Can you make out the content? Maybe the camera can move in for a better look. Yes! There it is! Pantyhose!
Verne: A pretty common bit of content found in terds. Anne is undeterred, however. She seemed to glance at Ken's shovel when he held it out, but she returned her attention to the area around her and is keeping her pace. The sign of a professional is not to be intimidated by the finds of another player. But look, her face is brightening! Apparently she's found content as well. She's making her way to the barrel with it. She gives an artful thrust of the shovel and the terd sails into the barrel. That was a perfectly executed move. Let's watch it in slow motion.
Earl: The content judge indicates that the content was a piece of sofa cushion. This is clearly a household with dogs who have a broad palate. What an exciting Match!
Verne: That last effort by Anne seems to have increased her confidence. She needs to be careful. It looks like she's filling the shovel with an awful lot of terds.
Earl: She does need to be careful Verne. In one of the qualifying rounds leading to this tournament one of the players tipped his shovel three separate times. Not only was he given demerits, but he lost precious time having to rescoop his loads. Balancing your terd load is a critical skill in this game.
Verne: I've seen more games than I can count where it has been the deciding element in whether or not someone wins or loses.There's a reason they call the tipping point.
Earl: The points are mounting for both our players, Verne. It's very evident that experience and skill is what brought these players this far in the tournament. Let's pause and hear a word from our sponsor...
You get the idea. Have a nice day.