I really love the sport, Zeus knows why, but I do I have all these big plans and ideal ideas, but of course, not everyone shares my views. Fair enough, you know it's a free world, freedom of speech, bla-bla-bla all that shizer. Obviously I believe that I have the best interest of the sport at heart, but so do all the people around the table, problem is... we all have different 'best interests'. And believe it or not, but all our training methods, goals and even handling styles influence these beliefs. Tonight, just as a random discussion, we started chatting about why the quality of Agility in South Africa seems to be stagnating, well the agility and the growth and... well the sport in general.
For you guys that live... well anywhere other than the ass-end of the world... let me try and put this in context. This coming weekend we have our Easter event, which I am organising... It is an open event, all heights, sizes, shapes, dogs, handlers, jokers, competitors, weekend-warriors, World Team hopefuls welcome... and we are very excited that we have our largest entry in years... a GRAND TOTAL of 52 dogs... Not a lot in most of your frames of reference now is it... unfortunately that is what we have. To some these low numbers are the worst part... to me it is even sadder that the quality is not remotely where it can be, or should be. Tonight's convo revolved around the biggest question in the entirety of the world... WHY... haha, we are such clueless and selfish beings aren't we?
There are many opinions... the agility schools in the province aren't on track? There are only five after-all... should there be more? Yes, probably. Should I be setting up a school? Yes, probably. Should more of the experienced handlers be teaching... Yes, probably. But actually you cannot fault that. Some people want to teach, some people can teach, some people have the resources to do so. But not all of us are cut out for it. And not all of us have the resources... Frankly I REALLY miss teaching, but finding grounds, getting another set of equipment... well just not going to happen at the moment. Have some of our schools/trainers lost the plot... yes, probably, but how do you influence people positively without offending them?
Another opinion is that competing in agility is too expensive, so people are just not interested in seriously competing. I don't think this is the case. The average champ show entry (for three rounds) will cost you R150... that is $22/13 pounds/15 euros. Considering what (proper) dog care cost in a year...
My honest opinion... people think what they are doing is 'good enough'. We have stopped striving to be better. And if on person stops that quest, inevitably it is a chain reaction. It is the butterfly effect. A win is NOT just a win. To me it is only a win if it was the absolute best you could do. I am tired of hearing 'you only have to go clear'... 'just get around'... you know what I mean. We should be striving for the best. If not for ourselves, for our wonderful loyal dogs. They might not understand competition, they might not appreciate the rosette or the trophy or the prize money or the title or the honour... but don't they deserve our ultimate best try, in training, in competition, in life. They devote their entire lives to us, we really do owe them a little something back.
Thanks to Nadine Shortland (http://www.mackland.co.za/) for the awesome pics she took in PE.