i have been struggling all day with how to write this post. im not sure if i have anything positive to say, and no one wants to read a whinging ranting post. but i cant pretend that the weekend away was all sunshine and light, because it wasnt. in many ways it was one of the most difficult, emotionally draining and depressing weekends ive had in a long time. but it was also really great, with moments of great joy, and even some enlightenment. so rather than get bogged down in detail, im going to put up the pictures i have and let them tell a story.
we set off very early friday morning
and drove a very long way through some stunning countryside
including the bushfire ravaged region around healesville
into a very wet and cold melbourne.
it rained heavily the first morning of competition and we set up our camp in the rain,
and then waited until about 10am for it to ease a little, which it didnt, so we ended up racing in the rain
the dogs actually dont mind, they just slow down a bit as they approach the box to grab the ball, and the cool weather helped them run faster for longer. at the end of the first day our team was sitting in equal second place. there were something like 40 teams competing, and teams are boken into divisions where you race teams of equal speed. being a fast team, we were in division one with two other fast teams, one of which are the australian record holders who we’ve been running second to for many years now! possum slept very well that night:
it rained on day two as well but not as hard, and we raced well again, finishing up in equal second. we were tired but excited, maybe on a bit of a sugar rush from all the lollies:
finishing our round robins on equal second meant that we had to go into a run off for second and third place. we were very nervous, but we held it together, and did two great races, clearly finishing ahead of our competitors, who were no slouches. that moment of realising we had won was one of the best feelings ive ever had, especially given that usually in high pressure situations trent runs possum, and the team discussed whether we should have trent run her in the run off instead of me, but i really wanted to do it, i knew i could do it, and i did do it. we won two heats in a best of three race, which made us the winner and put us in clear second place. everyone could see it, people cheered, the other team were sad.
then something terrible happened. this is going to sound strange to people who dont know the world of competitive dog sports, and if youve seen that movie ‘best in show’ thats only the tip of the iceberg, but its slightly different in flyball because its not about what your dog looks like, it about how well you train them, how well you work as a team, how well you hold your nerve. because our box loader, the person who puts the balls in the box for the dogs to catch, had jumped for joy when we won, the judge decided this was a breach of the rules and took our second wininng heat off us. there was a protest (by us), an argument, officials were called, we all stood around for 15 minutes waiting to see what would happen and it was decided that we would re run that last heat plus one other. of course, our team was crushed, confused, and now very upset and nervous. we lost our nerve, i blew a pass and we lost the two rerun heats, giving the other team the race, and second place.
i cant tell you how it felt. there are tears in my eyes as i write this. not because we came third and not second, because we never even expected to do that well. we are a new team who hardly ever train together, given team members live in canberra, wollongong and milton. we held our own and were happy to have run as well as we did. but to have a judge act in such a way, when we know that it was personally motivated fuelled by ancient grudges, and when it was so obvious that we had won fairly, and that as a judge, she didnt need to enforce that rule, and knows damn well she didnt, is just so incredibly devestating. why do people do this kind of thing? its a dog sport. we’re all there having fun with our dogs, and a malicious mean spritited power hungry person wants to make people miserable. how is this even possible?
we left the ring disconsolate. i sobbed like a baby. im not travelling so well emotionally at the moment anyway, and it was like a complete kick in the guts, yet another in a long string of personal attacks on trent that continue to plague our flyball experience. there are times i wonder why we bother. and then i look at how much possum loves it, how much fun it is when youre in the ring, how great my team are to hang around with, and i cant walk away. im so sad about it now though, i dont know how to bounce back.
i did try to compensate on the way home by stopping at wangaratta and visiting a certain little wool mill
where i was quite restrained and bought only what i was looking for, black wool for hats for new york.
the orangey one there (which is really mustard) and the grey, and one of the piles of black 4 ply are all patonyle, so i got 6 100gs of patonyle and 8 balls of 8ply pure wool for $31. cant complain about that. another good thing about the trip was finishing the mixed guernsey socks.
i will weave in the ends and blog about them properly shortly. this morning, little destructo ricco, who is not quite ready to race yet, informed me of his frustration about this fact by burrowing around in the works-in-progress basket under the coffee table.
this is whats left of the beginning of the landon cardigan. lucky i wasnt happy with it anyway and had it in hibernation. its lucky hes so cute too. all day today i have wanted to go home and crawl into bed with my wonderful dogs, including the wombat
who dont realise all the crap that goes on in the human part of the sport they do. they just get out there and run their hearts out and stupid humans come along and ruin everything.
stupid stupid humans. lovely lovely dogs.