I have been reading a ton of forums and articles and FB status updates and basically a whole load of internet moaning and groaning about 'is ___________ (fill in current contentious issue here) killing agility?'. Not only have I been reading this, but I have been hearing a lot about it too IRL. I have heard it all... that measuring, jump heights, course speeds etc etc are 'killing Agility'. I have bad news for these doomsday prophets... nothing is killing Agility! It is alive and kicking, I promise... otherwise all us addicts wouldn't be getting up at cock's fart every weekend , driving thousands of kilometres (or miles, your choice), spending thousands of Rands (or dollars or pounds or euros) to DO Agility.
Unfortunately there will ALWAYS be cases of borderline dogs (height wise), some of these borderline dogs will struggle with the jump height, others won't, they will kick @$$. I am a judge, I have measured tons of dogs, do you have ANY idea how hard it is? No judge will intentionally 'measure a dog into a wrong height category', but I, myself have measured dogs to vary by 1 or 2cm depending on how they are stacked or the surface used to measure or five million other reasons. This doesn't mean measuring is killing Agility. There will always be dogs that just can't make the course time, the same way there will always be dogs/breeds that are just not suited to the sport. If you create a fourth or fifth jump height there will STILL be borderline dogs, there will STILL be dogs that struggle with these new jump heights and there will STILL be people moaning. If you lower course speeds, there will still be dogs that just can't cut it and then THESE people will still moan for lower speeds. This does not mean speeds and jump heights area killing Agility.
There will always be those guys that just don't make the time for the Comrades marathon too. There will always be that guy that finishes fourth in the Olympics, just out of the medals. There will always be a goals awarded in soccer that should not have been. There will always be controversy in sport, a woman's sexuality questioned, a man's prosthetics be accused of giving him an advantage against able-bodied athletes.
Controversy and sport go hand in hand, because sport is all about passion... that I can understand and accept. It is the self-entitlement and downright blinkered selfishness that annoys me. All of us don't feel that we HAVE to be able to win a medal or the Olympics, win the Boston Marathon or play International Football. People are happy to accept their range in other sports and participate casually. Unfortunately in Agility it seems many (obviously not all) handlers feel that everyone HAS to be able to achieve the highest accolades/titles and wins in our sport. And if they can't achieve that, then something is 'killing the sport'.
Us, as Agility handlers are still so much luckier than any other sportsman... we always get to take the best dogs home! I mean I have never seen Volt give a crap about getting time faults, he couldn't care less in fact. Chaos has never caught a depro by getting a spectacular dq, okay wait maybe that once when I tripped over him and fell on my face he was a bit upset.... with concern for ME. I mean how cool is that? How many people get to enjoy a sport with a partner that really does not CARE about the outcome, as long as they get to slobber all over your face when you wake up (or more often slobber all over your face UNTIL you wake up).
Having said all that and confirming that nothing and no-one is killing/murdering/massacring Agility, I am ALL for trying to optimise the sport and making adjustments that truly benefits Agility as a whole (as opposed to for one or two dogs, don't laugh by the way, here an entire jump height was added for TWO dogs). So if you truly believe in your cause (being it an additional jump height or different qualification procedures), fight the good fight... if you have honest motivations and factual evidence (tons of it) to back you up. Just accept the fact that life is life and it will never be perfect.
In 21 days exactly (3 short weeks), we are flying to Germany... in 28 days (4 short weeks exactly), we will be competing at the World Champs. Nervous, excited, stressed... running around, visas, dog flights, making sure I HAVE everything. Training on astroturf, training on AWC judge courses, conditioning dogs, trying to get fit myself... ladies and gents, this is REALLY happening!