for: Dog Agility Blog Action Day
Do we do dog sports because they are inherently fun? Or for some other reason? Fun (when used as a noun) is defined by the Oxford dictionary as – enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. I am not sure I would describe the average dog sport venue in this way. A better way to explain what is going on is to say dog sport X is a journey. Journey (when used as a noun) can defined by the Oxford dictionary as – a long and often difficult process of personal change and development.
Dog training for me is inherently fun but competitions are another matter. I feel the need to compete; I’m not sure I do it because it is fun. And that might be a bad thing. Am I searching for something that is lacking in my life when I step to the line? Could I walk away from competitions and just do the training that I enjoy so much? If there were no titles, would we still compete with our dogs? I would, I think that would actually make dog sports better; competition for the sake of competition.
Competition should be about practicing what you know, learning about things you need to know, and teamwork with your dog. That might be fun; but it also might be a a long and difficult process.
Getting in the car to drive home after a competition where you almost made the podium or exploded miserably is not fun. Getting in the car to drive home after winning definitely feels different. But in each case you still have to drive home. And you better be ok with the process that got you there: the practice, the learning, the teamwork, the endeavor, THE JOURNEY.
Think about this – the first two letters of FUn are also an abbreviation for a common slang term that can be found in Urban Dictionary. Journey on the other hand is a good, clean, G rated word that helps me get from here to there and keeps me company on the long drive home.
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“Getting in the car to drive home after a competition where you almost made the podium or exploded miserably is not fun.”
What many people do not realize is that this is a CHOICE. You’re not a victim. Yeah, its takes some practice (sometimes a lot of practice!) but once one chooses how to react to an outcome, life gets a lot more fun! As for winning,.. Its just one moment in time, quickly forgotten by peers. Feels great when it happens but overrated as a goal. 15 minutes after you do it you have to go win something else cause it just doesn’t last. That’s why I like your philosophy that its The Journey that matters. Keep on saying that.
I would be very happy if titles went away in agility. I’ve only chased the ones I needed to move up in levels, mostly because I love tackling more technical courses. The more agility is about working hard, going into the ring to see how far you can get, and feeling that awesome connection when it starts coming together, the more fun it is.
Random coincidence: rented a place to practice last night and had lots of fun, made awesome progress with both dogs. And then on the way home got a flat tire, which was decidedly unfun. So there’s that aspect too 🙂
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