Wednesday, December 9, 2009

To Each According to His Need

Thank you Melinda for sharing that lovely phrase with me. I wanted a lot of Qs this weekend. I needed some perspective.

The ICDOC December trial is my favorite. I really love it because it is ours. I think we do a great job and I have so much fun. It was the first agility trial I entered and we got a Q the very first time we ran. We got a jumpers Q first run this weekend and finished our Novice Jumpers Preferred title. (I will NOT say "finally.") Jazz and Coach both came to the trial and both of them were great. Jazz stayed with me and we ran many smooth, almost perfect runs. We only qualified once. I was so disappointed and discouraged and lots of other "dis" words. I actually told Jazz that maybe I'm just not good enough to compete in standard. I am a fool.

I feel like we work and work and don't accomplish anything. Poor me - get out the tiny violins. The fact is that we have accomplished a lot. We started with no idea about any of this and a dog that NEVER came when he was called. He would run with me for a while if it was fun and then run everywhere else because he felt like it. I would holler, clap my hands (OK Jayne - I still do that some times,)wave my arms around, and generally act like a goof. We have become a team. Maybe not a first place, MACH team, but a team. When I can forget about my compulsive need to succeed, I remember that we have fun.

Did I say fun? Remember that? The reason I love dog agility is the fun of it. I love the fact that some kind soul invited hundreds of dogs and people to a great big party and I get to come. Not only can I come to this great party, but I get to bring my dogs! Wow! I love watching people run and cheering them on. I love trying to figure out the courses and run them smoothly. I love the feeling when I look over and Jazz is right there with me. (OK - I hate the sound of those stinking bars dropping. I hate that a lot!) I don't get as much fun out of qualifying badly as I do out of failing to qualifying but running well.

Did you notice that I said "failing" to qualify? That is my problem. I don't want to fail. I feel ashamed to be in novice after years - yes years - of trying to complete novice standard. I get all these negative things going. I need to learn to enjoy the moment. I need to get past caring about the titles and remember to care about the good things.

The other thing I need to remember is that I don't really work that hard at this. I train one day a week, sometimes two. I play with my dogs and love them, but I don't have weave poles in my living room. (I did have a table for a while, but it really was too big.) I work as hard as I want to and I have fun doing it. I am not willing to work hard enough to be great at this. If I really wanted to be great, I would probably have to go get a Border Collie or a Sheltie. Then I would have to live up to the dog's expectations. You know those dogs - they stare at you all the time. YIKES!

I started agility because it was fun. It is good mental and physical exercise for me and the dog, and I like the people who compete. Those things still apply. My dogs both make me laugh and both of them like to run around jumping and climbing things. I work as hard as I want to. If qualifying becomes important enough, I will work harder. I have a very demanding job and lots of hobbies besides the dogs. I need variety. I need to remember to have fun.

So I will remember to laugh more. I will stop feeling sorry for myself because I made a mistake. I will not turn this game into a job. I will keep my perspective or I will ruin this wonderful sport for myself and my dogs. I got exactly what I needed this weekend and I had a great time.

Thanks to all my "dog" friends. Remember to laugh.