Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barely Q's and Nearly Q's

It's Fat Tuesday.  Happy Mardi Gras!  A bittersweet day for me, because . . . . .
Today I remembered what I forgot about the Mobile trial, which is that I left in tears and disgust (despite my previous post depicting an upbeat view of the weekend).  Packing up my car at the end, I remember a clubmate drove by saying "See you Monday at practice" and my retort was "NO, I'm so sick and tired of all my barely Q's and nearly Q's, I quit!"  Then my head filled up with tears.  It wasn't until I reviewed my videos in sequence a week later and saw how well we did that I began feeling better about our performances and ready to continue trialing.

It might be different if my dogs weren't 95% accurate, that last 5% holds major frustration.  Why, why, why does there have to be one error on each run, or one bobble that so nearly costs us the Q.  Why can't there just be perfect execution on 19-20 obstacles in a row?  Have we ever had a flawless run?  I don't recollect any Q's that weren't close calls.

You're always skating on thin ice; just getting by; hanging on by your fingertips; holding your breath.  I've been there, done that, for many years in business.  It's an awful feeling I never want to return to.  But here it is, running rampant throughout this volunteer sport.  Any little thing can NQ you. 

3 or 4 mistakes are easy to reckon with.  A bad run today.  An off weekend.  A novice dog. We all have those.  But being so frequently so close and yet so far away, without a real excuse, becomes downright depressing.  Competitors encourage each other with their personal failure stories such as:
  • We didn't Q a single time in 6 months (now a MACH dog).
  • We only Q in TimeToBeat where the rules are more relaxed.
  • We're here only to have fun.
  • My dog is slow too.
  • My border collie can't slow down.
  • We're still in Open after 3 years of trialing HA HA.
Maxie in Mobile
These don't help me.  I hate feeling stuck in a rut. What would John (Cullen) say about my mental game after that trial?  Surely, not good. But if my dogs can consistently do 19 out of 20 obstacles correctly, surely they can do that last one too.  What is the impediment?  One thing I did learn recently, from Julie Hill, is her report about a dog that went from Novice thru MACH1 in 7 months, which only goes to show:

there are dogs who Q consistently.

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