Banana Joe: 2013 Westminster Best in Show
With all of the recent news regarding the fallacies and failings of the sports stars of today, I thought it was time to push the envelope for February and find a star that has no skeletons in their closest. We look up to our sports heroes and when they fail us it’s hard not to wonder if fame and fortune are changing these individuals or simply masking who they really are. With the likes of Oscar Pistorius, Lance Armstrong, the Penn State Football program, Manti Te'o, and Tiger Woods all leaving us scratching our heads, sports fans everywhere have good reason to wonder if there are any true sports hero’s left out there.
So, for February, 2013, I have decided to go in a different direction. If you are not familiar with Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, then you have not been paying attention to the news lately. Banana Joe, as he is otherwise known, competes on the field just like any other athlete. The only difference is that Banana Joe competes on four legs and is a dog. Banana Joe is the most recent winner of the Best in Show at the prestigious 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in New York. For his surprising and unexpected victory, I have decided to award Banana Joe the title of Athlete of the Month for February 2013.
Banana Joe is a five-year-old Affenpinscher. Despite his small stature, he is large in personality and pulled off a stunning upset over his six larger competitors and the favorite, Oakley, a German wire-haired pointer. Banana Joe worked his magic with all of the charisma that his little monkey-like face could exude. With the victory, Banana Joe will now retire from competition and return to the Netherlands, where he was born and bred. Talk about going out on top.
Banana Joe is the first Affenpinscher to ever win the Best in Show at the Westminster Dog show. For those of you not familiar with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, it is the Super Bowl of dog shows. Only the top dogs from around the world compete here and the competition is fierce.
The Affenpinscher breed is most likely not very familiar to many of us, at least it wasn't to me. They measure only about nine to twelve inches in length and generally weigh no more than seven to thirteen pounds. They are a toy-breed and can trace their origins back to Germany in the seventeenth century. The term "Affe" is German for monkey, and these little dogs do have a monkey-like look to their face. While Banana Joe has a shiny black coat the breed can be grey, silver, black, beige or a mix of colors.
The Affenpinscher is known for its lively and affectionate personality, which is certainly very evident in Banana Joe. They enjoy being around people and also get along with other dogs and even cats. They are adventurous and active little dogs with a very playful and fun temperament. The average lifespan is about eleven years, but they can live as long as fourteen years.
Banana Joe is a five-year-old male and was born on March 30, 2007. He has been competing for a number of years and has over eighty Best in Show titles to his credit. In 2010 at the Purina National Dog Show in Philadelphia, one of the three major U.S. dog shows, he reached the Best in Show Round.
In 2011 and 2012 at the Westminster Kennel Club Show, Banana Joe was named as the best in breed for Affenpinschers, but never made it to the Best in Show round. In 2013, however, his fortunes would change as he finally broke through and made it to the Best in Show round. With trainer Ernesto Lara leading Banana Joe around the ring it was clear that Banana Joe was on his game. With a bounce in his step and seeming to know that he was on the biggest stage of his career Banana Joe did not disappoint. When Judge Michael J. Dougherty selected Banana Joe as the Best in Show, Lara raised his little star into the air to the cheers of the packed Madison Square Garden.
Having gone out on top, Banana Joe reveled in his latest victory as he made the rounds on the morning TV shows. The little star has certainly left his mark on New York City and his trip home had to be delayed to accommodate the demand for the little guy. His job done, Banana Joe is now off to retirement back in the Netherlands with owners Mieke Cooijmans and Zoila Truesdale, where I’m sure he received a hero’s welcome.
With all of the disappointing news lately from our fellow human sports stars it's good to see a story with a happy ending. I am quite certain that Banana Joe will not disappoint his fans with any skeletons in his closest. Way to go, Banana Joe.
© 2013 Bill De Giulio