Monday, September 25, 2006

Final Thoughts on Champs

Ran yesterday's Team Event clean. It was only tunnels set in an 'M' shape, not really any challenge or handling to speak of and they didn't even let us walk the course beforehand. The hard part, well, this was a goofy event that involved one team member having to bat a ball through a hole in a 'wall' and the other members throwing and catching the ball through the same hole. You had to stand behind a line too. I hate sports with balls (yes, o.k., haha, snicker snicker but you all know what I mean), I have no coordination for it at all. After some practice we decided I should be the thrower. Took me 3 tries to get a good enough throw through the hole for my teammate to catch. Of course when we practiced I got a bunch in a row right away. During the event I had to run Cody first then throw the ball while keeping him in the box so I had hyped up from the adrenaline from the run and preoccupied with Cody leaving (he didn't, what a good boy).

I left the Camplex right after our run at 1:30 pm and got home around 6:30, just in time for dinner and crashing on the couch. It was fun but it's SO good to be home. I'm not really into travelling anymore and I like my routine.

Final Thoughts-overall it was a big success for us and I had fun. It was a great warm up for USDAA Nationals in Nov. because we got to work on fairly easy courses in a high stress environment. Both dogs did great amidst the chaos of all the other dogs, the announcer on the loudspeaker and the noisy crowds in the stands. I also got to see how they would hold up for 5 days and they seemed fine. Cody was a bit tired by the end but he's 8 so he's entitled. We picked up points for our Jumpers & Tunnelers titles and had fun with the team event.

In general though I'm not sure I would do it again even if I could pick up the bazillion points I would need to qualify for the standard event. 7 am until 9-10 pm for 5 days in a row is way too much and the general chaos and lack of organization was driving me nuts. I suspect this is another reason for the lack of all the top handlers in the country (there was only one who I would consider up there). The Elite (highest) level classes were small for a Championship event. There were people placing who had as many as 20 faults (that could be 2 off courses). The courses didn't seem all that challenging either unless you handled from the bonus boxes, an option most people did not choose by the end of the week. It was tedious to watch this from a spectator's point of view as many of the runs quickly turned south. While it was impressive to watch the ones that worked it still wasn't as exciting as watching the handlers that ran with their dogs. This is supposed to be agility, not sheep herding. I like running with my dogs and using distance when it makes sense, not standing in a box and pointing them around the course just for the sake of it.

I'm tired though and I've got a USDAA trial this weekend. Hopefully we can relax and recharge in the next few days. It's our last chance to trial before USDAA Nationals though and I want one last chance to get some practice in on those more challenging courses.

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