Friday, February 09, 2007

Recent Big Discussion

As you know, I like to do agility with my dog Sassy.

I LOVE doing agility. Do I do it as often as I would like? no.

1. can't afford it
2. don't have time as I've an active toddler
3. it's winter and cold outside, so practicing outside doesn't happen so much
4. life is just life....

BUT I do like to get out and be involved at least 4-6 times per year. I love it when Sassy does well and will crow about her until the cows come home. :)

Anyways, that's not what this post is about. I'm part of the AgilCan yahoo group. it is the message board of the Agility Association of Canada. Here after called AAC. Right now they are having a huge discussion on the fact that it used to take 300 points to qualify for the nationals (at the regional event), and in 2008 it will take 400 points to do the same thing.

I can understand their reasoning. Too many people were qualifying for the nationals. The nationals are our "prestigious event". Too many people, too many dogs, too hard to find a good location, too hard to find enough volunteers, which all leads too hard to find people to host it.

There are times when I think the AAC needs to switch from being a volunteer run organization to a paid position organization. But that's another topic.

People are mad because they as "members" weren't consulted. They are all offended that this seems a surprise decision (and Yes, I do have to concede that fact it caught me off guard), but more that this surprise decision was made without having everyone vote on it first. Seems a bit silly to me.

If you have everyone vote on this issue, where do you draw the line? It's an issue like every other issue. Let the board handle it. We have a board. We elected them. We have to trust that they will use their brains, their statistics and such like in order to come to a good decision.

Yes, 100 points is huge jump. BUT we have 1.7 years to prepare! The best dogs should be able to get 400 points. That's not requiring 6 clean rounds, that's 3 clear rounds and at least one pretty decent run. Over two days, most dogs should be able to do that just fine.

Would I have liked to see an incremental increase? yes. Would have been easy enough to implement. say 350 this year, and then 400 the following year. People probably would have been less upset with that.

It will cut out some dogs. Guess what? That's the nature of having a competitive sport.
It doesn't stop people from entering. You can still go and say you ran at the regionals, AND if perhaps you happen to qualify for the nationals WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maj0r party time, and if you can make it to the nationals and have another good weekend...well then just rock on!!!!

If not, like thousands of other competitors out there....go .... ah well... it was another learning experience and we had fun trying.

So why else are people upset?
1. It's not fair (is a huge complaint)
2. We weren't notified
3. Agility is supposed to be all inclusive. 400 points will exclude me or my best friends dog therefore I'm not coming cause you really don't want to include me
4. Should have differences for the size of dog involved. ie. the really small dogs should only have to shoot for 300 points, and everyone else for 400 points.
5. offering alternatives. Like...let everyone run and only let the top X% percent go to the nationals.

My answers to the upset reasons
1. STOP WHINING! Trust your board to make good decisions.
2. STOP WHINING! Trust your board to make good decisions.
3. GET OVER IT! These are the top levels of competition for our organizations. Not everyone can be top dog. you have all year to run around with your best friend and your dogs. do that. Know that this is competition at it's best. we can't all be the best. and who knows, you can come you can try and perhaps you and your dog (or your best friends and their dog) might have a totally rocking weekend and you just might qualify. It's happened before. (it's called being the dark horse of the competition) (or dark dog as the case might be)
4. I can see some merit to this idea, but then more cries of unfairness will happen. Some small dogs can totally knock the socks of some of the good big dogs out there. So... if there are a few less that can do it, guess's YOUR choice in dog and breeding. Live and love your dog that you chose to live and love. Don't whine about it. I can see doing small dogs at 350 points. Not 300, but then a small dog course should be set up with all the challenges that larger dogs have to face. Make for an interesting challenge that would! :)
5. I can see the merit the having only the top x% go on to the nationals. It would really limit the number of dogs going. Make for a smaller nationals. Would be easier to put on. How do you choose the percentage numbers? What if some in the top percentages don't want to go to nationals (life, $$, etc interfere) would you do down the list and say okay, dog number 3 can't go so let's see if dog number 23 wants to? That might be insulting... You'd want to make sure enough dogs go to the nationals to afford putting them on. So there's lots of things to consider with that scenario as well.

I would love to go the regionals with my dog. It would be a complete hoot!
I won't because
1. it runs over a Sunday. And Sunday is a day of rest and worship... for the whole tribe!
2. I don't think my Sassy dog would cope well. She gets tired at one day trials. By the end of the day she is just shot. Too many dogs, too much noise and not enough just me time. Two days would wipe her out, and day two would probably be a complete waste of time for her. And I'm NOT spending $90 to trial for just one day. Just not doing it. :)

So what do I do instead? I volunteer. I am SO looking forward to it this year. The regionals AND the nationals are close to home! I get to volunteer at both of them!!!!!!!! Isn't that great or what!?!?!?! :)

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