I'm not big on nostalgia. 'I don't care about history 'cause that's not where I want to be.' Also I'm generally absorbed by whatever is going on in the present and what could be going on in the future. I'm not so interested in the 'been there, done that' part of my life because 'been there, done that, what's next?'
But I got a gizmo to transfer my old VHS tapes to digital so I could finally get rid of the giant t.v. with the tubes and the two VCR's that we kept so I could watch my old tapes. Because those old tapes hold my agility career from almost start (2001) to Strummer's baby dog training and beyond (2008 ish? Not sure yet).
I thought it would be sweet to see video of Cody's first trial and whatever else I had on those tapes. I was so very wrong. While his first trial wasn't so bad, the practice and fun matches that led up to it were so sad making. There was one place in particular that I kept going to for fun matches and looking at it now it was obviously such a stressful environment and the other people there were loud and shouting. He had such a hard time there and the only explanation I have for continuing to go back there is that I didn't know any better or maybe I thought if he could get used to that environment, a trial would be a piece of cake.
Plus my own handling. Wow. The bulk of my handling consisted of me yelling, 'Cody Cody, Here Here, COME' and flailing my arms in the air. Now most of us who started in 2001 or thereabouts probably had atrocious handling. I have video of one instructor showing me how to cue the tunnel by raising both arms parallel to the ground and stepping with a flourish sideways towards the tunnel. I kid you not. Was talking to someone else about it yesterday and she said her instructor (who eventually was also my instructor) had told her the same thing. The 'Vanna White Move'. Kinda hilarious. Kinda not. Oh well. It took a couple of days for the 'ick' to wear off.
Some interesting observations from then to now. First off, way less barking in the background. WAY less. Not sure if this is because more folks are drifting towards more high drive, noisy dogs or maybe less emphasis being placed on teaching dogs to be quiet in a crate. Or maybe individuals having more dogs and giving up on trying to keep them quiet (I can think of one instance of this though I can also think of one from back in the day). Not judging or pointing fingers here, just an observation. I do find the level of noise at trials, especially indoor ones, to be stressful and it's one of the reasons I started doing half days or only one day.
Also it's interesting to amount of people who either dropped out or moved away. So many folks I had forgotten about. Or maybe they only do AKC now so I don't see them. Also none of the kids I had on tape from the very early days continued on as adults. There are a couple since then who are still involved, one I believe is an instructor. I think dog and horse sports are great for kids on many levels but I get how some don't embrace them into adulthood. Early adulthood (college, family, career, housing, kids) is very time consuming and expensive and those precious resources aren't typically available for hobbies. Also some parents get the kids involved because the parents like it but the kid maybe not so much.
It was interesting to see folks doing blind crosses. At some point they fell out of fashion and you never saw them and now they seem like a new thing but back in the day folks used them occasionally. Lots more rear crosses back then. LOTS more poor timing. Way more slow dogs back then and even the fast dogs seemed slower than the fast dogs now. Probably because now most folks have a running A-frame and better timing. But maybe it's my perception and if you timed them they'd be similar.
I feel even more committed now to do well by my current dogs. Kinda weird to have 2 dogs in foundation class together but that's a post for another day.
In the meantime, video from Cody's first trial. It was USDAA and Scott Chamberlain was the judge. At the brieifing for the first run of the day he asked if it was anybody's first trial. I was the only one to raise my hand and somebody yelled out, 'Sucker' in a friendly, funny way but he said, 'Now now' and was careful to explain things in detail for me. At every briefing he reminded us to remove the dog's collar and yet there was still one run that I forgot to do it. It was an NQ but he still came up to me afterward and told me why it was an E. I think I only forgot a collar once or twice after that. And I had no idea what I was doing in Snooker. I had to learn Snooker on the day and predictably got whistled off. I sure could run a lot better back then, wow I've lost a lot of mobility. Something to work on.
Very First Run of Very First Trial - USDAA Gamblers