Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday and the Fun(?) Match

Here is a list of the agility stuff we've been working on this month. Our lovely and amazingly patient instructor sets the board out during our lessons, so we can remember what to focus on...


Some of the folks in our class even work on this stuff in their backyards every day.

Others go to a local park, and mosey around the lake.....


Still others sign up for "fun matches" so they can practice in a "trial environment."

Riff and I went to such a fun match this afternoon. It was the same semi-frantic press of dogs and people that we experienced at the fun match last week. Not like a typical trial.

First we helped the organizers set up the courses. The equipment arrived late, so they were in a hurry. The organizers then brought out the jump-order list, and said "Okay, here we go! First dog in the ring! Tall to small!! Line up NOW!!!" I had to run and get my dog. All the teams surged forward to check in at once, because you had to check in before you could get in line. Only one lady was standing at The Check-In List. She was in charge. She immediately became engaged in complex conversations with various competitors..... ... .... and the crowd around her grew and grew, and the 'gate people' yelled "We need a dog on the line!" and the crowd pressed in....closer and closer. It became noisy and restive. Think Egypt. Only with a lot of barking dogs and no flags.

Actually, I'm sure a bunch of the folks in Egypt had more fun than we did. I didn't think this match was "fun" at all. (Bear in mind I've been known to get claustrophobic....)

I did my best to stay calm in the crowd, and to keep my young reactive dog quiet and attentive. I put Riff into a "sit" in front of me, stayed engaged with him, and turned into a Pez "treat" dispenser. Other handlers pushed in close to us ("we're in line!") and then hopped up and down, trying to jazz their dogs up with squeeky toys, rope tugs, and high-pitched excited voices. ("Get it! Get it! Get it!") I fought against having a panic attack. My dog's eyes were huge black saucers, and he very much wanted to come UNGLUED. (I wonder what my eyes looked like to him...) He stuck with me, bless his heart. We both did our best to be calm, and Good Good Good. If I ever go to one of these again, I must ask someone to save my place and wave at me when it's my turn....
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The fact is - the way this match is set up - if you don't get in line, you don't get into the ring. And if you miss your jump-height, you are SOL. They shrug and say "You can jump at a lower height if you want." It seems the organizers want to get this fun match done as quickly as possible, so they can go to dinner. I can understand that....but.....

For sure that poor lady drowning in a sea of people at the check-in board had no hope of knowing who had run, and who had not. Nobody else had a list. It's kind of an honor-system deal, I guess, and that's all well and good. Agility people are mostly very nice people. But it's far too confusing and stressful when no one seems to know what's going on. Even agility people have been known to sharpen their competitive edges on the meek and less fortunate.....

Finally we got into the ring and could actually breathe a sigh of relief because we reached the start line, and blessed open space. AAhhhhhhh.......

And maybe that's the reason we were at this fun match. We were so happy to get away from those crowded lines that Riff and I completely RELAXED at the beginning of our run, instead of at the end....

and it felt great.

Riff was a really good boy. He held his start line, and all of his contacts. He cleared the triple and jumped through the serp beautifully! We got to play lots of tug. (I wanted to put the feeling we had at that start line in a jar that I can open up any time I want!)

:-)

Be that as it may.......my current plan is to skip the fun match next weekend, and take a nice walk around the lake instead.

1 comment:

corgi2bc said...

Yeah, that doesn't sounds like much "fun"...

Steamy and I are usually happy to escape the ringside madness and get in the ring by ourselves too.

The walk around the lake sounds perfect!

 
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