Author Topic: 2012 Championships Memories, Reflections and Thanks -- VERY long!  (Read 2367 times)

Jean Sather (McCreight)

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Usually a part of my “winding down” after the Championships is taking the time to sit down and write up some of my favorite memories and reflections – both to share them, and so I will never forget – and this year is no exception.  In no particular order …

The NADAC Championships (this was my 9th consecutive attending as a competitor, 10th overall) is for me part competition, part celebration, but very much a family reunion – one of the big highlights for me is getting to see wonderful and treasured friends from across North America who truly feel like family to me, meeting new “relatives” each year, missing those unable to attend – “relatives” who share my passion for my dogs and this sport, and who understand me in ways that my best-intentioned but non-dog owning genetic family members never can.  I had some very special conversations with several new friends this year – my circle expands every year, and I LOVE this about the Championships!  :)

Probably the first night I was in my motel (the one with the narrowest corridors any of us had ever SEEN!) I opened my door to go out with my dogs, and a semi-familiar voice called out “Coming through with dogs!!”  I secured my dogs behind me and peeked out to see a friend from Southern California coming past with 3 BC’s on her way to a room across the hall and just past mine.  As she went by and recognized me, she said “Well, THIS is a NADAC moment!”  I loved it!  I love moving into a strange motel in a big city where I am not particularly comfortable and within a very short time, most of my neighbors turn out to be NADAC friends of long standing.

Along these lines, I want to thank all of the “heads up” NADAC competitors who manage their dogs so well, both within the tight confines of that motel, and all around the stall crating area and in the vicinity of the arena.  I had with me my less-than-two-year-old BC-lab mix Tux, and moving him safely around this area was quite the challenge and adventure for us both!  Thanks to everyone else who could see what was going on and was so careful with their own dogs, NOTHING negative happened the whole week, and Tux had a great educational opportunity for learning to behave around an incredible array of other dogs and distractions (even including a Lacrosse tournament going on elsewhere on the Equestrian Center grounds on Saturday!).

Special thanks to Sharon for ALL of the new purple wardrobe items given to recognize competitors in the World Xtreme Games, All-Around competition, and Super/SilverStakes.  When these were handed out on Tuesday or Wednesday (when it was nearly 80 degrees and I was still worrying about how to keep my dogs cool) I must admit I was kind of wondering WHEN I’d be able to wear them and how to decide which jacket to wear when, but by Sunday morning when it was 36 degrees, I was wearing EVERY last one of them all at the same time, and appreciating ALL of the multiple layers!  ;D

Fellow competitors:  I loved seeing all my old friends, with both their old experienced dogs and their up-and-coming dogs and puppies.  I LOVED seeing my young “First-Championships” friends earning their first-ever Championship ribbons.  It’s not that long ago that I came home from Castle Rock with a single 6th-place ribbon (Regular, Pre-Elite 20+ Round 3) for my first agility dog Kintla – and I have not forgotten what a thrill that was for me.  It still hangs in a place of honor in my home, and in my heart.

Thanks to all of the superb Regular and All-Around handlers and dogs who I had the great pleasure of watching (often from that PRIME seat bar-setting in the ring – and especially for the Finals round!) for giving me such great examples of how to handle those courses so well – and yes, occasionally to see some hazardous off-course opportunities which might not have occurred to me otherwise!  :)  While our handling positions in SuperStakes were often different from yours, I learn an incredible amount about how to handle any course by watching others run it – especially with dogs who run similarly to mine.  A thousand thanks to you guys for the great inspiration and examples!!

To my fellow Stakes handlers – as always, thank you for being so generous with your compassion and understanding when we have one of those runs where I feel like I’ve totally let Zack down and embarrassed myself hugely in public – and equally generous in celebrating with us when we actually DO succeed in nailing a course!  You guys truly “get it” and are the best.

Thanks to Arlene Courtney for sponsoring (in honor of her dog Teddy) the special bar for “Third-Highest Score in the Finals Round” – This came as a total surprise to me at the end of the day on Sunday, and I’m still buzzing over Zack winning this one!  ;D

Thanks to all of my friends, and those total strangers whose names I still don’t know, who stopped me in passing walking around the balcony or outside just to say “I love watching you run your dog”.  You have no idea how much this means to me.

Thanks to Kent and Mary of Three Pines – for the fabulous video of those runs I want to remember forever, and for all of your patience in replaying our “learning experiences”.  The ability to see and LEARN from our mistakes in the ring over the past 3 years has truly contributed to helping make Zack and me the team we are today.

Thanks to the NADAC staff and all of the volunteers for “making it happen”.  It takes a huge amount of work to pull off an event of this magnitude, and I thought this was one of the smoothest-running ones EVER.  You are all awesome, and so much appreciated.

Thanks to Paul Kirk – it was so great to see you again this year, running Renzo, playing your accordion, cheering everyone on from the stands.  Special thanks for playing polkas for me during the SS walk-throughs, and for Chris Nelson coming down to polka with me!  8)  I was really missing my dance-partner Rocky ….

Thanks to my dogs Zack and Tux for curling up on the motel bed and sleeping with me on those nights when I was lying there awake, listening to you quietly breathing and feeling your warmth.  I remember thinking then how lucky I was to have you two to “watch my back”.  Not to even mention that you are my best friends, superb traveling companions, and both seem to be so willing -- and even ENJOY – playing  this crazy game of agility (and yeah, EGC games too!) which we humans have invented for our amusement and entertainment.  And right now the two of you are lying very quietly at my feet as I write this.  I am so totally blessed to have these two rescue dogs to share my life with.  Ever grateful for Zack, who continues to astound me with his speed and desire to play this game with me, and Tux, with whom I am just beginning this journey and really have no idea yet where it will take us.

Very special thanks to Sharon – for a few private conversations and hugs and moments that just we two will remember.  How different my life would be if I had never met you, and Lucky.

Remembering with great love and appreciation my black lab Kintla, who got me started in agility (with considerable help from my first agility instructor, Nancy Creel, who was willing to work with us in spite of all his barking!) and who took me to the NADAC Championships in Castle Rock as a competitor for the first time in 2004.  And my husband Rocky, who supported and encouraged me so totally over the years in chasing my agility dreams.   I miss you always, but I know you will always be with us.  Zack and Tux are both honored to wear leashes you made, every time we step in the ring.

Thanks all for the great memories and another wonderful year.  Already looking forward to next year in Springfield …..
Jean & Tux

Joe Fisher

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Re: 2012 Championships Memories, Reflections and Thanks -- VERY long!
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 08:02:50 PM »
Very nice Jean. Thanks for writing it, for those of us who aren't at Champs it makes a great picture!

Joe Fisher
Seamus and Teaghan
Joe Fisher
Seamus and Teaghan, my Std Poodles

Re: 2012 Championships Memories, Reflections and Thanks -- VERY long!
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 06:05:15 AM »
Thanks so much Jean.  Well said!!  It's been a great few years so far!! 

Mary Grabau
Three Pines Productions LLC
Po Box 116
Wilsall MT 59086