Celebrating sled dogs & birthdays

It’s a cold, February night. You’re not sure what the temperature was forecasted to be. Negative five? Negative ten? Zero? Regardless, it’s irrelevant to you. You stand out in the bitter cold, surrounded by a crowd of familiar faces mixed in with strangers. You, like them, are waiting in excitement. No one cares how cold it is or if it’s snowing or not. No one worries. They’re justwaiting.

They’re waiting for “seven bells.” At seven, the announcer says, “and they’re off!” The reporters are on the scene with live feeds of the night’s event. This is the greatest race the U.P has to offer -at least to me. This night isn’t like any normal night. It’s special. It’s awesome. It’s the night of the U.P 200.

This is the only day I can ever convince my family to stand out in negative-degree weather for more than an hour without them saying something to the effect of “never again.” It’s also one of the few days of the year where I’d be willing to be around large crowds of people. We always bring hot chocolate with us and stand as close to Donckers as possible. Most people bring bells to ring, but my family just cheers as the dogs and mushers pass by.

I have a lot of memories of the sled dogs races. I remember for a good year or two I was obsessed with sled dog races. One time, as a little kid, I hooked my dog up to a sled and then myself to another sled then the two of us ran around and raced. I bet I would’ve won the race had I been running on four legs. Maybe, but it was still fun.

Another thing I remember was actually being excited for snow. Now my feelings toward snow is that it can stay until my birthday -?which is Tuesday – but after that it has to go. After my birthday, I want frequent heat waves that melt everything. Bring on the summer.

Speaking of my birthday, that’s another reason I like the sled dog races. It’s not always on my birthday, but it’s usually pretty close, which is great. Another thing that happens around the same time is a nice 4-day weekend off school thanks to President’s Day. It’s like fate. Everything just lines up perfectly.

I appreciate the sled dog races. You won’t see these things down south and they are missing out on this awesomeness. Some animal rights groups will complain that it’s cruel to make a dog run like that, but if you see those dog’s faces while they’re running, they look so happy. They’re having fun. They’re the center of all the attention. It’s like they’re famous.

We have so many great things in the Upper Peninsula. A lot of them are even in Marquette, right outside our doors. We should celebrate this fun stuff, stop worrying for a few seconds, enjoy what we have. Why? Because it’s awesomeand because it’s my birthday!

Editor’s note: Theresa Hermann, 15, is a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School. She is a member of the 8-18 Media Senior Team and she plays trumpet in the high school band. In her spare time she likes to write and make movies. She is a daughter of James and Gail Hermann. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 226-7874, or email at 818mediaupcm@gmail.com.