Thursday, June 6, 2013

Up and Down, Around and Around

It's been a while since I've been able to take a photo of four USDAA 1st-place Q ribbons. Good boy, Mr. Riffle!  After all the set-backs, we're starting to click as a team.  Sweet! 

These Advanced level ribbons were earned at the Bay Team trial last weekend in Petaluma, after Riff and I finally got that last Starter's Standard leg for our AD title.  I didn't pick up his ribbons, but stole these from Keeper's bulletin board, just to take a picture.  (Winning has been a rare occurrence.  Maybe I should keep track of these moments?)

The BEST PART of the weekend, by far, was the encouragement we received from some onlookers. We heard clapping and yelling!  People said "beautiful run" and gave us high-fives. 
Very kind.  Maybe it's the old theatre-girl in me, but that encouragement goes a long way toward keeping my "handler motivation" in gear. 

People love smiles and encouragement just as much as their dogs do.   

Riff has a great smile. 

Putting up a theatrical production is a lot of work.  Usually about three-to-six-weeks of rehearsals, then another three-to-six weeks of performances.  Working a production can be a solid three-month commitment - and that doesn't begin to count all the time you spend at home, memorizing lines and blocking (as an actor) or preparing paperwork and/or plans (as a stage manager or director).  It doesn't count the years you spend in classes, and/or working backstage jobs, building your resume.  Theatre people do all of that for the energy coming from the audience, and for the applause at the end of an evening.  That is our Big Reward.  Some plays are good, some not so good.  But the mere possibility of positive feedback from an audience keeps us going.  (And yes, there is money involved - for the union folks - but it pales in comparison...)

Agility takes a lot of commitment, too.  And a LOT of practice.  Most of the agility people I know love to learn, which seems to be the key to their success. 

Agility people learn, all day every day, from dogs.  Our dogs teach us much, if we pay attention.  We also learn by taking lessons from professionals.  We watch YouTube videos on-line, read training books, go to seminars, try to keep our memories sharp, and study.  Study, study, study.  Practice, practice, practice. 

We learn from our mistakes.  We probably learn more from our mistakes than anything else.  (But that's the hidden beauty of making them.  Mistakes are worth their weight in gold.) 

We do our best to stay fit, too, so we can keep up with our dogs on the agility course.  (For some of us, that's a huge part of the challenge...!) 

This agility life-style has its ups and downs.  "Clapping onlookers" is Up.  "Injury" is Down.  There are many kinds of Ups and Downs in agility, but it usually works out to Good Times, in the long run. 

Up and down, and round and around we go....experiencing ripples and waves of satisfaction and fun....learning something new every day....with smiles and words of encouragement keeping us afloat. 

So.  Yeah.  Ever Onward...!


Anonymous said...

Nicely done! I love the smile on Riff's face, and I can see your smile through your writing. :-)

Celeste said...

Thanks! (Smiling...)

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