Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Questions

These questions came up after comments on my MYOB blog and a recent friends blog I read. I grew up competing in various activities. We didn't get awards for just "being there" we got awards for doing well, beating other people etc etc.

So...questions involving that sort of thing--in regards to any dog competition activity (herding, agility, obedience etc etc.) and I am VERY interested in your thoughts!

Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?

Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?

If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?

Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?

Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?

If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).

Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?

Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?

Why can't many people be happy and gracious when others are successful?

Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?

Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?

Would love to hear your answers :)

24 comments:

Hillcrest Border Collies said...

I think our society has put way too much emphasis on "everyone is a winner". It is in our schools, our sports etc.
I do NOT believe everyone should get a participation ribbon i.e. Championship. A MACH or ADCH should be left to those dogs that have shown exceptional work, not who has the money to trial weekend after weekend and get DQs because their dog doesn't go off course. I like USDAA's Super Q's and believe that should be in all classes.
Those that want to compete 'for fun" need to not get upset when certain people win a lot. Those of us that want to win have put a lot of effort into training.
I think wanting to win can and does take over some people's lives. If you do not allow your dogs to be dogs then it is taking over your life. I hear so often, oh Rex can't go running with the other dogs because he has a show this weekend and I need to be careful with him. Or I don't let my dogs play together because I want them to only focus on me.
People need to know there is no PERFECT dog waiting for them. There are dogs/lines in breeds that have traits that people are looking for. You can spend all of that time looking for your PERFECT dog and still ruin it.

manymuddypaws said...

-Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?

I think that when people hear the word they think of the people who don't really seem to have fun and are so driven for a Q, or a title, or to get on the world team that they appear snotty and rude.

-Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?

Uh No. In fact, I don't ever remember getting a participation ribbon in school ever. I don't think having things handed to you just because creates enough "try" and "work harder" in people.

-If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?

Refer to question one. A few bad apples can make all competitive people seem rude and snotty.

-Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?

No, not at all. In fact, we have students who do agility just for fun and may never compete. I myself have a dog that I do agility "just for fun." There is never any pressure to get out there and train him, and never the pressure to do things perfectly. It's nice, and was a great decision for us.

Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?

Again- a few bad apples. Also I think that the average handler, and the newbies are easily intimidated by the ultra competitive person...

If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).

-Excuses, Excuses. I don't think that saying my dog had the fastest time, but knocked a bar is a bad thing, or an excuse. Sometimes I need to say that to make myself feel better after my dog knocks one bar each round for a whole weekend. :o) But excuses that are in relation to training, or performance really bug me. My dog can't learn to turn away on cue because she just doesn't get it. I can't run fast so my dog is slow. She does it perfectly at home. Etc. Those drive me nutty.

-Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?

I don't know. Certainly not in my case. lol. Maybe sometimes, but I think that those people that aren't as competitive don't try as hard- because if they are out there just for fun and not to Q why would they care if their dog never learned to do fast weave poles, or hit the yellow?


-Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?

You shouldn't be. I am always super proud and boastful of my dogs accomplishments. Especially because in my case they are few and far between. When I placed 2nd at Nationals last year I told anyone who would listen. If you hang out with people who make you feel bad then maybe you need new friends. I had a shitty weekend this past weekend, me and my dogs were all off- but my friend earned a HUGE title and I was super happy for her- even though my own weekend wasn't great.

Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?

Not always, but probably often. Again if the results don't matter I'd assume that regardless if the dog runs well or not as long as you had fun you had a good weekend. Whereas for the competitive handler having a chronic issue, or a bad weekend can definatly reduce your optimism. And for the record I don't consider Q's to be the only indicator of a good run or weekend. Some of my best runs ever have not been Q's.

-Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?

We have one of these in my area. I assume it's because he/she's not a great trainer and needs the right dog to make them look good.

Just my .02cents of course, hope I didn't offend anyone!

Interesting blog post by the way!

fulltiltbcs said...

Great comments! Keep 'em coming!

Brittney--Interesting points! And I do agree there is no perfect dog...although many spend their lives looking for it :)

Amanda--very interesting that you mentioned about people trying out for the world team...I wonder what is the percentage of handlers that do actually have world team aspirations? That would be interesting to find out! I personally have no interest in such a thing. I have dealt with a few of the "world teamers" and I think it can go either way, most of them are lovely people, very generous with their knowledge and great to be around...while like you said, some bad apples do really spoil things. Great thoughts!

I appreciate the comments, it is very interesting to me how people view it depending on each individuals situation.

Case in point why you can't compare two dog/handler teams...they are not on the same journey :)

Debra Kay said...

One of the things that draws me to agility is that is completely objective-you have obstacles which must be overcome, and a time limit to run them. And yet, there are still excuses....LOL.

Sometimes I feel like the "just for fun" people are gritching because they were beaten by the competitive people-HELLO-you paid to enter a TRIAL-a competition. Run it for fun if you want, but don't complain if your results are not what you want because someone is better than you on that day. I honestly believe a lot of people are either not clear on what they want, or clear on what it takes to get there.

I am just getting started, but each time I take my dogs out I want to do the best we can, learn what we can, and hopefully one day we will actually BEAT someone. Yes. I want to win by beating another team. I'm not going to think less of my dogs if we don't, but we will be out there trying harder the next time.

The only thing about competition that bothers me is when it's to the detriment of the dog. Running a dog to the point of injury to finish another level, or running a dog too often and too hard to get something faster than the person before you did-that bothers me, and it bothers me in all animal sports.

I also don't like tantrums on the field (from people). You can be competitive and still have class and sportsmanship. It makes me sad when a dog tries it' guts out and is just a little slow and the handler is too busy mourning the "loss" rather than congratulating their loyal partner.

Barbara said...

LOVE THIS!

Part 1.

Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?

This stumps me too. I hear things like this from people who get "non traditional" for agility breeds, like I am just competitive so I got border collies. I got border collies because I LIKE them. I like they way that they think, and yes I like to win. However, my dogs are really happy and sane and have a pretty damn good life. They don't spend all of their time in crates (ok, while I am work they do), but we go herding and do agility and go hiking and hang out in the yard.

So Emma competes in Performance/Preferred now. Locally, in AKC, there aren't that many dogs in the 16P class. And if Emma Q's, we win 100% of the time and by a large margin. (I usually compare her times to the 'regular' 16 inch class and the 20 inch class). In USDAA, there are about 4-6 dogs at any given local trial that can win the class if they are clean, and Emma is one of them. I love running USDAA better because of that competition. It isn't about the blue ribbon, it's not even that we beat everyone else. It's everyone laid it on the line and the best dog in that run won. If if I don't win, I still like that better. Emma wins a lot in USDAA P 16 but not every time. Still funnier than AKC 16P class.

Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?

Nothing wrong with that, if that's what people want. I don't take many ribbons at trials anymore, mainly the BFR (big freakin' ribbons) or ones that mean something to me (Speck's first QQ or Emma's herding ribbons,etc, etc).

If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?

I am not sure about this. I like to win, but can certainly appreciate that some folks just want to have fun with their dogs. I do have students who have no desire to compete, but still love to come to class. They are serious about learning how to handle well---nothing wrong with that.

But I kinda resent the fact that people want to criticize me for wanting to win. Let's face it, about 95% of the winning is done by 5% of the dogs. You can see it locally and at the national level. The same people are in the top spots each time with a few new faces thrown in. I work hard to be where I am at with my dogs. My dogs seem like they are enjoying agility. I do love the teamwork that we achieve for that perfect run!

Barbara said...

Part 2

Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?

Nope. I do it just for fun too.

Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?

If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).

I think that this is human nature. We want some acknowledgment that we achieved SOMETHING, ANYTHING if we can't quite get what it was we were seeking. Hell, I do this. Perhaps as something positive to take from the run at times and perhaps to gauge my performance against others.

Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?

Define "better". Is it better at competing, better at being dogs, better at being what?

Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?

I am not. I am proud when I win, but I don't rub it in people's faces. I also try not to brag about it much. But I like it when we (me and my dogs) do well.

Why can't many people be happy and gracious when others are successful?

Is it that we are unhappy because we have failed? I think that most people find it easier to congratulate someone who competes in a different sport (or even jump height). If someone else wins at something that we are competing in, that means that we didn't. At least that's with me. I will certainly congratulate that person if he she beat me. I would expect the same from them.

Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?

I like competing, but I can understand why some people do not. Sometimes it's stressful, but if I feel prepared, then I like that stress.

Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?

They think that the dogs/handlers at the top got there by magic?

Dianna said...

I think there are many levels of "competitive". If someone is truly not competitive, to me that means they/their dogs just love agility and don't ever trial, just in it to "have fun". I think everyone who trials or competes in anything is competitive in some way. Let's face it, when you go back to work on Monday and people(non agility people) ask you how you did, they really mean "did you win?"

Some people are "serious competitors" trialing towards a really big goal, such as a championship, world team, or national competition. The rest of us fit somewhere inbetween. We are all trialing towards some goal, be it a title, or a blue ribbon. Sometimes our level of competition is affected by money, time or other obligations.

Maybe the "competitive" people that get a bad rap, are the ones that don't act gracious when complimented. I have run into this a few times. When I see a run I'm impressed with, I compliment the person if possible. Most of the time I get "thanks", but sometimes, I get, "he could've been faster, better, he didn't hold his contact long enough, etc." And, maybe that is true, but it makes the complimentor (is that a word?) feel almost bad that they gave them that compliment. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I feel like when they are at that "level"(of competitiveness they are rarely satisfied with their dog's performance, and each run is a means to an end. This very thing could be why sometimes "competitive people are to be avoided"

I'll admit,I'm fairly new to trialing, but I'd like to turn one of your questions around. "Why can't sucessful people be happy and gracious when others (that are certainly not as sucessful) give them a compliment?"

As for obtaining that perfect dog, I'm not sure it's possible. No dog is perfect. Your handling can improve, which can help with the "next" dog. But even then, we usually make some new mistake with the new dog. Your choice of breed or lineage may help, but there are no guarantees. So sad to see people put so much stock in one little puppy, almost setting them up to fail.

As for" Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?" I hope that isn't true! I certainly respect the hours of time people put into those beautiful runs, and championships. Wear them proud, I certainly celebrate my little triumphs, who am I to say someone else shouldn't. Now that I think of it, perhaps that is where some come off as being not-so-gracious. Maybe they are just trying to be humble.

Great post, which really makes you think!

sclmarm said...

I don't think everyone should get a ribbon for participating, especially adults! Sometimes you have to work for something.

I think competitive gets a bad name because of the losers and the winners who are poops about it:) It's a two way street.

I do think winning can take over people's lives to the point that they lose perspective and the reason they started on the journey in the first place. Unfortunately in our game that usually means a dog gets used up, "thrown" away or blamed because it isn't competitive.

With all the different venues out there some have developed into the "just for fun" agility venue. In our area it is CPE. Another perception is USDAA is for competitive people. Just like competitive people, some just for fun people are good trainers and some are not so they compete with varying success. I would consider myself a just for fun type competitor. I shoot for titles rather than wins and have been successful. With my first dog I do think I trained some of the speed out so I could have accuracy. My second dog I've tried really hard not to do that and boy it's taking a lot longer to move up:) If I can place or win that is icing on the cake and run to the best of mine and my dogs ability. I must say USDAA is my favorite venue because I feel that the courses are more challenging and of the "competitive" feel of it:)

I think it all boils down to being a gracious winner and loser and keeping perspective. I try to teach it to 1st/2nd graders on a daily basis. It can be a hard thing to do and teach!

Barbara said...

Skipped this question the first time.

Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?

I avoid poor sports. People who are only caught up in their drama. I guess I hang out with people that are fun to be around (competitive or not).

Karissa said...

Competitive is only a bad word when combined with "bitch." You can be competitive and still be a nice, decent person who encourages others.

I came from the horse show world -- Where I happened to win quite a lot. So when I discovered agility, I came to my very first class saying, "I want to show and I want to do well." That has been my attitude from day one, but I try to do it in a positive manner that is fun for my dogs. From my very first trial, my goal was to get a NATCH (I obviously do NADAC...).

Perhaps I am odd in that I rarely care about placements. I won't lie -- If I place first or second out of a large, talented class I am elated (and might even take that placement ribbon -- usually I leave them). My competitive streak is against myself and the Q. My chosen organization has set the standards and it is my goal to meet & exceed those standards. Each Q is a step towards that goal -- And each NQ reveals an aspect of my training that needs some work. I don't take that out on my dogs or my peers.

I admittedly have not been around much negativity in the dog world, but the horse show world was brimming with it -- which is one reason I decided to get out. I didn't need that level of toxicity in my life.

The only problem I have with people who do agility "Just for fun" is when they sit and complain about NQing or otherwise not meeting the requirements set before them. Several "JFF" folks think that they don't need to put any work into this game, and that's not the case. They get frustrated because their dog doesn't do what they ask -- and they fail to realize or admit that their "JFF" attitude and lack of work is the reason why their dog doesn't understand. I feel that to be successful in agility -- even if you don't feel like you are a competitive person -- takes quite a lot of work and dedication. If you work your dog once a week, your dog is going to show it.

I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted a Border Collie because -- yes -- I wanted to be more competitive. I spent a lot of time looking at breeders and ultimately I ended up with a rescue. Breeding does play a part, of course, but ultimately I feel it's what you put into it. A crap trainer could easily ruin a dog with a perfect working/sporting pedigree.

Again, I saw that a lot in the horse world. I even have a friend who went out and spent $50,000 on a schoolmaster that was many, many levels beyond her ability. She didn't continue to invest in lessons and didn't put in the work required to improve herself (because she was just having fun). The end result was that the horse basically turned to crap and lost many of his skills. Brilliant animals do not stay brilliant without consistant, correct work.

So I think "Just for fun" often times doesn't remain very fun... Agility isn't much fun if you never Q and many of the "JFF" people get deflated pretty quickly when that happens -- Or in the case of those that don't trial, when they see their peers advancing in class while their progress remains stagnant.

fulltiltbcs said...

Karissa...that is assuming you are speaking about a female :)

Karissa said...

Oh, I wouldn't say that -- I've known PLENTY of bitchy men. :o)

But on the subject of male vs. female -- I do have to say that the men I've known in agility tend to be far more "serious" than the average woman. I have one friend that I trial with (he does NADAC & USDAA, so maybe that's it, *wink*) and I repeatedly have to tell him to chill. He gets so upset with himself and/or his dogs when something goes wrong. I listen to him rant for a little while (if he blames himself -- I won't listen to a rant about the dogs) and then I tell him to move on. We are supposed to be there to have FUN.

Good lord, I can't imagine spending this kind of money to be so miserable every weekend. If I wanted to do that, I'd stay in the office and actually earn money. ;o)

agilityfrk said...

Okay, I'll stop lurking and take the bait...

Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?

I think some people have a hard time balancing having fun and being competitive. For me, it's fun to be competitive, but I get that some people fear losing the fun, by getting too focused on being competitive.

Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?
If that would make people happier, more power to them.

If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?
Because some people that are loudly proclaiming their desire to win have bad attitudes.

Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?
Nope.

Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?
Because some competitive people are unpleasant. I also think this can be the hang up of the people doing the avoiding. Maybe they aren't comfortable with their own ambitions and being around people who are comfortable with theirs makes them uncomfortable. How's that for a confusing sentence. ;)

If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).
Because it makes them feel better, by finding a success in a run that may otherwise be viewed as unsuccessful.

Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?
Some do, some don't. Some people get too casual and don't do as well because of it. I make more mistakes on the runs I don't care as much about.

Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?
Because they're caring too much about what others think. If I ever win a National event, they'll have to pull me out of the ring with a hook. ;-)

Why can't many people be happy and gracious when others are successful?
Sometimes jealousy and sometimes the person who won is a fucker that no one likes.

Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?
Not necessarily.

Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?
Hyper-ambition and ego with some insecurity thrown in.
It's also possible that they've had a few too many challenging dogs. (Though the "taking them to the spotlight" comment makes my crazy person radar go off.) I remember when I took Starlet to a bigwig trainer and was told, "you need to get another dog" to which I responded, "but I just got this one". ;-) The trainer wasn't necessarily wrong, for the level I want to compete at (being competitive at a National level), Starlet wasn't mentally going to overcome what she'd gone through before she joined me. I've learned more from her than any other dog I've worked with and on paper she is quite accomplished, but she never enjoyed the game as much as I did. She did it because she loves me. I have no regrets about getting her, but now that I have a young dog that enjoys the game like I do, she is essentially retired and the happiest I've ever seen her.

Fun topic! Mia Grant

Tori Self said...

I don't have enough time (homework...aggh) to go through all the questions, but wanted to throw down some thoughts...

Re getting a MACH/ADCH/etc. - I think the U.S. has an agility system setup that is flawed in this area. Often times mediocrity seems to be encouraged - all you have to do is have a solid Q rate and some money to get a MACH. Same goes for the ADCH, throwing in a little snooker technique here and there...but come on, you only need 3! lol However, mentioning this to others who one might classify as "just for fun" people, there's frequently a lot of backlash. Getting a MACH (let's just generalize the MACH to all agility championship titles for the sake of writing) is celebrated immensely: you get a nice fancy bar, people sign it, big pretty ribbon, picture taken, often times cake (one thing I absolutely LOVE about these titles...;), and the list goes on. But what was really accomplished here? You didn't "beat" anyone, which I suppose, puzzles me (me being a pretty competitive person). You came and played the game. You payed to enter. You got around a course (which usually are not that challenging I might add ;). And you got a prize....?

On the other hand, I think titles such as this often reflect an owner's relationship with their dog and how they are proud of that relationship. Maybe they aren't the fastest team out there, but hey, they can do it too and look at how connected they are as a team...

But, on the foot side of things (ran out of hands...), this is not always the case. I overheard someone talking about their dog at a trial a few weeks ago. The dog has been struggling with the weaves - supposedly very uncommon behavior, so the cause is assumed to be physical. A comment was made that she just wanted the dog to hold on a bit longer and get through the weaves to finish off their last two DQs and 40 points or so. To me, that is an unfair conclusion. Your dog has no idea it is getting a MACH...and on that note, I think it's quite silly when people say their dog "did it for them". No. They didn't. They're dogs. Titles, to them, make no sense...

These championship titles are put in, in my opinion, to keep people playing the game - basically to make a profit. People want to be able to throw four capital letters in front of their dog's name, hang a bar/ribbon/picture on the wall, and feel accomplished. Might it be that the organizations are banking off of human nature?

Re excuses when you fail - I held contacts. That's why we didn't win. And your need for the justification stems from...where? Insecurities and lack of confidence. Which is fine, in my opinion. Everyone is different and everyone is on a different path. Perhaps they haven't made that stop yet...they haven't matured in that aspect of life at this point. I sure as heck know I have a long way to go when it comes to other life lessons (probably a lot of lessons I don't even know *exist* hah...). So hey, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, it's not affecting me, as I do my best to keep my confidence up in my dog and in our abilities :) If something goes wrong, I need to go back and work harder.

Would love to comment on other stuff...hopefully I'll catch a break from school soon! Awesome post!! :)

Nancy said...

What an interesting bunch of questions and an even more wonderful bunch of comments from people. I got so wordy that it wouldn't accept all my comments. So, here is part 1:

Q: Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?

Usually when something feels wrong or instills bad feelings in a person, it is because of something deep rooted in that person and the only person that would know why that is, would be the person feeling that way (and many times they are not honest enough with themselves to know what the real reason is).

Q: Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?

If it makes them happy, great. But I suspect that those deep rooted issues with competition would manifest someplace else. :>)

Q: If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?

I don't think that all people feel this way. But if someone does feel this way, I suspect that they would ask a different question directed towards those that are more competitive in nature about those that want to have fun. Basically, the goals of these two groups are very different. The important issue is that we respect others' goals and we pay more attention to what's most important in our own lives and let others focus on theirs (or let others focus on whatever they want to focus on :>) ).

Q: Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?

No. But what does that mean? It might mean one thing for one person and another for someone else. And actually I believe that most competitive people are looking for the fun in improving their performance to the point of getting into the spotlight. It's just that it would never be called "just for fun".

Q: Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?

I think that people surround themselves with people that they can relate to and who make them feel good. As people "grow" and possibly get more involved (or leave the sport or go to another organization), they will probably make new friends or encounter others that they can either relate to or they feel disconnected with. It's really a natural human trait and spans into all aspects of life. When people "avoid" other people, it is either because they can't relate to them or because there is a deeper issue within them that stems back to something that they dislike in themselves. That goes either way - with the "just for fun" people towards the competitive people or the "competitive" people towards the "just for fun" people.

Q: If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).

There are so many great answers to this question in previous comments, I won't even bother to answer this one.

Nancy

Nancy said...

Part 2:
Q: Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?

Very complex question and really twofold:
I think that the people with GREAT dogs have a great relationship/connection with that dog. You can see it in their performances - even the "off" ones that aren't in the placements. It's something that everyone (even the spectators) will notice.

Pressure is a complicated word. Putting pressure on dogs is not necessarily a bad thing, if it is done in a way where the dog learns that failure is not a bad thing. They are trained by continuing to challenge them by making things more difficult (not necessarily running long courses, but short sequences to get that affect). In herding the same thing is done by grouping sets of sheep that are not easy to move or keep together, etc. It challenges and pushes the dog to learn how to solve problems. It's how the handler REACTS to the successes and failure of the dog when they are being pressured/pushed/challenged that make the difference.

The dogs trained in the way where failure is not a big deal and success IS always rewarded become more like their "competitive" handlers in that they love those challenges and thrive on them.

Q: Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?

People that win a lot should not do anything more than be themselves. It will be more noticeable to others if they become someone else. And even more so, when a person stops being anything else but who she really is, then they will start to feel uncomfortable with themselves, which develops into a much bigger and more complex internal struggle.

The most important thing is to always be honest with yourself. Feel the joy, if you are ecstatic (loved Mia's comment about having to be pulled out of the ring with a hook, if she ever won a National Event...that is being HONEST with yourself).

It can be just as uncomfortable or uneasy for some people to win as it is for others to fail. Both of these events are life "lessons" in being honest with ourselves.

I could go on and on about this...

Q: Why can't many people be happy and gracious when others are successful?

That shouldn't matter to anyone, but the person who is not being happy and gracious. It's more about some struggle that's going on within them, than it is about anything personal towards the one that won.

Q: Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?

I have no idea. I try to mind my own business. It's when I'm paying too much attention to something that I don't want or don't like, that I get myself into a negative place.

Q: Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?

Again, that's something that I just don't pay attention to...I'm too busy trying to find my own PERFECT dog....JUST KIDDING!!!! :>)

Nancy

capnree said...

I was totally lurking but I have to say, Mia, you crack me up. I almost spit out my soda.

fulltiltbcs said...

I have been just approving the posts (to prevent porno comments on my blog...gotta love the spammers!) and I just about peed my pants on Mia's statement "sometimes the person who won is a fucker that no one likes"...LMAO!!!!

LOVING all the comments everyone, I think it is great to see how people view things!

You guys crack me UP!!!!!

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

I LOVED reading the responses to all of these questions! :)

I just wanted to say, on the ADCH/MACH front: I feel these titles are championships for meeting performance standards. If you want a championship for COMPETITION you go to a regional/national event and focus on that.

I know lots of people who don't give a rat's toenails about MACHs and ADCHs. They want to win ISC classes, USDAA Regionals, USDAA Nationals, etc.

MACH/ADCH titles are not participation ribbons. There are plenty of -competent- dogs that simply will never reach that level. I know, I own one. Earning her Excellent A titles will be a HUGE accomplishment for her.

If you want another tier of titles for dogs that actually BEAT other dogs, I'm all for it. UKC weight pull does this. The "Championship"-type titles are for simply pulling a certain percentage of your dog's body weight multiple times. The "Grand Championship"-type titles are for beating other dogs in your weight class, period. I would love to see the agility organizations consider something like this but I'm sure plenty of people would whine and complain about it being "too competitive".

Dianna said...

Tori: Totally agree with you. I also do obedience and rally. Many times it's been pointed out to me that a green ribbon is a green ribbon. Their title looks exactly the same as mine...it doesn't say that they barely squeaked by, and I got high scores. It took a bit of fun out of my titles.

Mia: LMAO!!! I think you hit the nail on the head!

insanedogowner said...

OK - have to address a couple things:

First: Mia. We DID have to pull you out of the ring with a hook. Remember???????

Second: "Just For Fun" is so not why I compete. It's why I play this game in the first place but honestly, if that is what is all about, I would stay home. Why would I spend money on a trial if it is "just for fun." Seriously. I can play in my back yard or the park "just for fun." People who train just for fun - more power to them. Me personally? If I didn't like to compete, I wouldn't train and we would all spend more time at the beach.

I *like* competition.

Third: I totally agree with Mia. Sometimes an asshole (and we all know who they are) wins and no matter how hard you try, you just can't be happy for them. I know - there is a warm place waiting for me.

Fourth: NO world team aspirations here. At all. *shudder*

Fifth: I have the perfect dog and none of you can have her. Plus she's old so don't even think about stealing her :-)

Sixth: I think participation ribbons should be reserved for the Finals. If you make it there - yup - I think you should get a big pretty ribbon (or a cheap flimsy one is Ken's case) but then again, I am a self-acknowledged ribbon whore so take that with a grain of salt.

Seventh: Bad Sports Suck :-)

Kristi aka insanedogowner

Rosanne said...

http://rdrift.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-dont-usually-care-about-internet.html

fulltiltbcs said...

Great comments everyone! It is really interesting hearing all the different answers!!!

I will have to think of another set of thought provoking questions for another time :)

Magohn said...

I find this topic quite interesting. When I first started in agility some time ago, people used to be very proud to hang ribbons on their crates, tents and x-pens. Now, I don't even see the ADCH, MACH and NATCH ribbons hung up...I know people win, I can read the scores, but there is too much humility or something around my area. I'm proud when I win and I want to hang my dog's ribbon proudly, but it seems to be a poor sportmanship thing to do around here.

I do love that NADAC USDAA give our placement ribbons, especially for beginners. When I first started, it was good for me. I soon realized the difference between a win and a placement, a Q and a win. I think having placement ribbons for young competitors is nice as well. They also realize when their dog Qs or places with a Q - but it makes them feel special and encourages them to keep trying.

I do find human beings facinating, there is such a fear to get to know new people. There is minimal eye contact and people talk their emotions through their dogs.

Great topic - thanks for bring it up.

Positively,
Margaret Hughes

P.S. I loved what Mia said about some f...in people winning that no one likes - that was funny because it is true. Hee Hee