Sports Columns

May 16, 2014

Larry Case: Make some room for the old dogs, too

The brown pointer trembled as I reached down to release her from the leash. The wind was coming up pretty good and her ears tousled back as she leaned forward and tested the air with that reddish nose.

In a leap she was the young dog that I had often looked on in wonder as she plowed through the autumn woods. Once again a brawny, muscular, bulldozer of a dog that hunted with abandon and didn’t worry about obstacles, because she could smash through anything.

As vividly as the morning sun, I saw the hunting light come into her eyes. She was 2 years old again and a being with a single purpose as she swept the woods.

Then just as quickly as she raced away the years seemed to fall upon her, the years and all the infirmities and pains that follow returned. She slowed at the top of a little rise, stopped and tested the wind again. The brown dog turned as if slightly embarrassed, but shot me a look that said as plain as day, “Once upon a time I could really tear it up, couldn’t I ol’ buddy?”  

Somehow I have an old dog again, although I have no idea how this happened, having vowed when I buried the last one that I would never do it again.

Where did the years go? Most of us go through a momentary loss of our sanity when we acquire a puppy. We endure all that goes with it and we never once pause to consider what is coming down the road.

Old dogs love to be taken for a hunt, included in the day, thought of as part of the crew. Please remember it was not so long ago that they were the crew! They hate to sit at home and watch you load up the young dogs and drive away. They know exactly where you are going.

As hunters and outdoorsman we all know another kind of old dog. There are dads, uncles, cousins, neighbors or just a brother in camo that we know who would love to just get in the truck and go. They may sit there and never say a word as you load up with other young dogs and drive off. Stop and take a close look sometime, though, and you will see the hunting light come up in their eyes.

They were the great hunters one time, the ones that told you stories about walking across Cheat Mountain and champion hunting dogs long gone. They were the ones that finally relented to your pleas to be included in the hunt, even when they feared you were not old enough. They saw the hunting light in your eyes and they took you into the fold.

The old dogs may not be able to follow you on every step of the hunt. They don’t care. They just want to go with you. They just want to be included. They may sit in the truck and wait for your stories when you return, or maybe just go to camp with you and be part of the crew. They just want to go!

One day you may remember this as you stop to pick up an old dog and take him to the mountains. You may look over and he will shoot you a look that says as plain as day, “Once upon a time I could really tear it up, couldn’t I ol’ buddy?”



“The Trail Less Traveled” is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W. Va., has been a devoted outdoorsman for all of his life and is a contributing columnist for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at larryocase3@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Harman is living his childhood golf dream

    HOYLAKE, England — One thing about golf that has remained constant since Young Tom Morris won his fourth Open in a row in 1872 — when Ulysses Grant was president of the United States and Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy (he had 25 wives) — is that a little man can play the game.
    Football players are becoming bigger — often illegally — and basketball players are growing taller, but a golfer can excel at any dimension if he hones his skills enough to get the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes. Golf is not a behemoth sport; there are no concussions, no strikeouts and no fistfights. Let the game prosper.

    July 18, 2014