Point/Counterpoint: Which was the better halftime show, Red Panda or frisbee dogs?


PUPPY! (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

It’s been a struggle at times watching the UConn men’s basketball team. A disappointing 21-10 season, resulting in a six seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament has left the Huskies on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.

At times, the highlight of many a UConn game was the halftime show. As one of the beat writers for the team, I have to say, the UConn athletic department does a great job booking fun and interesting acts for the 15 minute break. However, two in particular stand above the rest.

Elan-Paolo DeCarlo: The best halftime show is the dogs playing Frisbee. I’m a dog owner. My family just adopted two German Short-haired pointer puppies in October. They’re super cute, but don’t know any tricks yet. Watching the dogs at halftime, there were three canines this year, is simply enthralling.

Their trainer is immensely talented and must be a master trainer. The dogs respond to his every touch and command. They all work together in perfect sync to make 60 foot long catches, run slalom courses. The dogs are able to jump higher than even Jalen Adams.

Puppies for the win.

Aaron Esposito: The Red Panda Acrobat is the best halftime act and it’s not even close. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching her perform, the Red Panda is a Chinese acrobat who flips bowls from her feet up onto her head while riding a giant unicycle. Everybody loves the Frisbee dogs, but they are not flawless. The Red Panda never drops a bowl and I can’t understand how. She is the model of precision and perfection when it comes to halftime shows. UConn basketball could learn a lesson or two from her ability to perform night-in and night-out with such remarkable consistency.

DeCarlo: Trust me, you don’t have to sell me on Red Panda. That woman is a freak of nature. But, let’s be real, we saw three puppies run out on a college basketball floor and make Every. Single. Catch. They’re animals! Cute, adorable, fluffballs that were able to reach a level of athletic greatness this year’s UConn team couldn’t dream of matching. One particular “play” that stands out is when one of the dogs comes charging in from about 20 feet behind the trainer, who crouches down, to spring the dog into the air to make the catch. It’s that sort of greatness that elevates the puppies to the top spot in the halftime entertainment power rankings.

Red Panda, a balancing act, performed her bowl flipping routine at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday March 6, 2016. (Matthew Zabierek/The Daily Campus)

Esposito: I’ll admit, I thought the dog might dunk the Frisbee when he vaulted off the trainer’s back. However, it’s the Red Panda’s ability to win over a crowd that separates her from the competition. When the Frisbee dogs touch the floor every girl in the audience pulls out a phone to get the first Snapchat or Instagram picture. When the Red Panda trots out her unicycle half the audience goes to buy their halftime snacks. Once she starts stacking four bowls, then five bowls, then six bowls, the whole story changes. The same kids that groaned when she started her act are standing on their feet because they can’t get enough Red Panda. When it comes to acrobats and dogs we’re all winners, but the Red Panda is on another level. 

Elan-Paolo DeCarlo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at elan-paolo.decarlo@uconn.edu. He tweets @ElanDeCarlo.

Aaron Esposito is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men’s hockey. He can be reached via email at aaron.esposito@uconn.edu.


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