I'm not sure how I come to the point in my life where I spend my Saturday night in front of a computer watching dogs run around an arena but there you go. I totally get how people like to be there in the stands-the noise and excitement of the crowd cheering, the loud music, the drunken revelry. It's like the difference between going to see a band live and watching a concert on DVD, believe me, I get it. But I guess I'm old and cranky because for me it was a huge luxury to sit in my fuzzy slippers and watch from the comfort of home. Somehow I was less bored than when I was actually there in the stands. Go figure. My only complaint was the appalling camera work. It was zoomed in too close to get a good feeling for the handling and the switch between the different camera angles was jarring and unnecessary. They did this when they used to show it on t.v. and I can understand why because the average t.v. viewer wants to see the dog. But I'm supposing most people watching the live feed last night were agility geeks with a different agenda. Anyway, it was free so I guess I shouldn't look that gift horse too much in the mouth.
I didn't know very many people running so it was hard to get too excited about the competition aspect of it but it was interesting to see how the different handling options panned out. I loved seeing the mix win and the other mix come in second and the dude with the Malinois winning the 26" Champ. class. But the highlight for me was the interview with the junior handler who won the ridiculously competitive 22" Champ. class. The announcer was asking her about her win and she said something to the effect of it's all about getting out there and having fun with your dog. It was great to see someone that age competing at the level who gets it.
Watching all that high level competition is inspiring but also a bit depressing. It feels like I have so far to go and I'm progressing at a snail's pace. Strum's last couple of lessons have had me feeling like I'm beating my head against the wall. On the other hand it's good that I'm being challenged. No point paying for lessons and I do everything right and never learn anything. But it feels like the list of things to learn is long and I'm at a frustrating platueau in both my training and handling.
On the other hand I took Lola out to the field the other day for a rare practice session. It was in the low 30's, cloudy with a storm blowing in-perfect agility weather for my dogs-and she was fiesty and full of herself. She flew around that course hitting all her weaves and contacts, following my every move like the awesome little girly that she is, running with a pure joy that she saves for those times when it's just me and her alone at the field. It was one of those perfect agility days where I know exactly why it is I love the sport.
Then I went back the next day and tried running Strummer on the same course and I'm in a good mood right now so we won't talk about how that went. My kingdom for some younger legs and faster reflexes.
This week we had 60's-70's shorts weather, today we have snow. Biking weather to skiing weather in 24 hours. But the sun is shining now and the snow is beautiful so I'm going to throw on a fleece and burn off some of Strummer's boundless energy.