Gameness by Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly

In 1978, shortly before I moved to Georgia from New York, the late Andre Giroux called me to report a match he had just won with a son of Davis’ GR CH Boomerang that he called Paddy. This was Paddy’s third win and Andre also wanted to register him as a Champion. During the course of our conversation Andre was bemoaning the fact he didn’t have a thing to breed Pady too, that is nothing that he thought would cross well with Paddy. I reminded Andre that he did have a bitch that would look real good bred to Paddy. The bitch was called Black Pinky and was one of the 30 or so odd dogs that was registered as being sired by Bullyson out of Art’s Missy. Andre never liked that old bitch, he claimed she was as ugly as any bitch he had ever seen. Someone had cut off her ears an her tail and she was scared from head to toe. Andre had matched her one time and had to pick her up in nine minutes with a bad bleeder. Andre had farmer her out after she lost and as he thought about it, he did admit that the bitch was as ugly as sin. At last Andre agreed that the breeding looked like a good one and then he said, “I’ll make the breeding and if they have pups, I’ll send you a couple of male pups.”

Some time later Andre called again and said that Black Pinky had whelped three male pups and would I mind if he just sent me one pup instead of the two he promised. He sent me a little black pup, chunky built and undershot that even at his early age, he looked like he was in charge of everything around him. Andre registered the dog with ADBA and named him Black Flash. He grew up to be a 37 lb dog and after the usual number of rolls and testing, I matched him at a six dog show in South Carolina. I drew Jimmy Coleman as an opponent and he had Scotty McNeill handled a brindle and white dog sired by Coleman’s Turkey who was one of the better known stud dogs of the time. Jimmy’s dog was called Old Mr. Boston. Sometime early in the match I acquired an unofficial, corner man and all around rooter, I never did learn the young man’s name.

After a little while, Boston did turn and was called on again to scratch.Along about the hour mark, Black Flash was doing a pretty good job on the Old Mr. Boston’s legs and Jimmy yelled into the pit and ask me for a scratch to continue. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be interested in anything that deviated from the rules the way they were written. However, Jimmy was and still is one of the most gentlemanly, gracious, and decent fellows in the game. I told him that he could scratch to continue, however, if Boston did scratch it would have no other significance in the match and would still be his turn to scratch. Of course, if he didn’t scratch the match would be over. Jimmy agreed and we took our dogs to their respective corners. As I was tending to my dog,faced into the corner, my unofficial adviser leaned in close and told me that there was no way Old Mr. Boston was coming. We faced our dogs and the third man in the box told Scotty to release Boson. Here he came, like a bullet on two busted up front legs.

“No way can he scratch” bellowed my impromted adviser. Soon as I turned around with Flash, Old Mr Boston was right in our laps. the same scenario repeated itself for several more scratches, until Jimmy told Scotty to pick up Boston at 2 hours and 17 minutes. Jimmy wanted to see Boston scratch one more time for a courtesy. Back to our corners we went, and my well intentioned corner man told me one last time. “Their dog is limp in his corner, he can’t possibly scratch, he can’t even stand up.” was the latest advice from outside my corner.

I faced Flash and here comes Old Mr Boston, limping, stumbling, falling down, getting up and finally falling almost between Flash’s front legs. I held Flash’s mouth closed and ease him up to me so that the dogs would not get into hold again and the match was over.

“Ah Hah” exclaimed my unrecognized Helper” I knew he wouldn’t make that scratch he’s a cur.”

All I could do is look at my young admirer and wondered what Old Mr Boston would of had to do to gain the admiration of this overly critical young man.

There are all kinds of degrees of gameness and when a dog is 100% game is a rare quality in any dog. I have probably been witness to several thousand matches in my time in the dogs. I can honestly say that in all of those matches, I can count the number of truly game dogs on my fingers and toes, and still have a few digits left over. Old Mr Boston was one of those 100 percenters. Black Flash might have been just as game, however, he didn’t have to prove it. He run a courtesy scratch, but he was physically all in one piece. Could he have scratched in the shape that Old Mr Boston was in? Who knows, he won the match.

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