Went to a trial yesterday. Good fun. I was entered again with just Chuck. I had planned on entering Vaider but a little mix up on my entry form had me only in with Chuck. I did not not explain to Trudy that I was going to enter Vaider this time. He has been out with a sore shoulder for a while.
So Three o’clock in the am. we are up and on our way. Three and a half hour drive so we could be there at the beginning since Newt was up early in the open running. We made it in good time and were there before the trial began. We wander around a little with Trudy getting ready and visiting with people; me trying to not be too socially awkward.
Trudy ran Newt fairly early. They did a good job but the sheep did not settle so Newt could get a hold of them. He kept having to catch them as they tried to find an out. This affected his lines and thus his score.
We continued to watch the open through the morning and into the afternoon. With just a few hours of daylight, Pro/Nov began.
Gus had a good outrun. From that point he had a fairly decent run (decent enough to beat me; but more on that next). Not too bad for a dog that has just turned three.
Chucks turn came up. We went to the post with a fair amount of confidence. We have worked these sheep at different trials and they had always liked Chuck. Well it started with Chuck hooking up at the top so his outrun was very shallow (and when I say shallow, it was just barely enough to get behind his sheep). He was a little off line but we fixed that to make our fetch panels. As we got close to the post one old ewe stepped from the group and came running to me. Chuck came in and moved her off; we then continued the turn on the post into the first leg of the drive. Making the turn easily at the first panels and beginning the cross drive; this is where I started to doubt.
As we started the cross drive, Chuck began wanting to hold balance to me. Well when cross driving this does not really work well. He pulled the sheep low (over half way to me) and we had to set them back on line. This is a green dog mistake and I could feel something akin to frustration start to fester. We made it a short distance shy of the second panels when he began pulling to balance again. At this point we began to have a back and forth; me saying don’t balance to me, him saying balance to the handler was the right thing to do. As we had this discussion the ewe (yes the same one that ran to me at the handler post) decided it was time to leave. Chuck had to go cover her which just so happened to fit his idea of the right thing (now you can see my grumpy face because I felt I had to sacrifice the battle). In the recovery we missed two sheep through the panels. The rest of the drive and through the chute went easy (it was a chute rather then a pen since these sheep pen really easy).
As we left I had no desire to be around or hear anyone. My socially awkward self was really starting to coming out. Anyone that knows me knows when this happens I need to get alone or I begin to try way too hard to fit in. I have a good friend who tells me all the time, “Dave, you are fun to be around but you are not really funny.”. He may be right but it does not stop me from trying this tactic when nervous. Running true to form I was trying to think of something funny to say when I had to be around people. I schemed and planned and came up with a great funny comment.
The opertunity came fairly quickly as a couple friend commented as I walked by “that was not too bad.”
I quickly responded, “That was not worth waking up for!”.
There I got that out, all was good and I started to walk on. Over my shoulder I heard, “Well there were good parts.”.
I was not prepared for a response so all I could come up with was that they must have watched a different run. With that I continued to try to get away. Before I could I was met by another group. They commented on my run. Thinking they were not in earshot of my prepared comment I repeated, “Not worth getting up for!”.
I can not remember the exact words they said but what I got out of it was: Buck up little camper, don’t be such a princess, look at all the good that happened. Then one of the people I help with their dogs finished it up with, “I love using his own words against him.”….
With those words, not worth getting up for, became more than worth getting up for. I had so many good things to look at. I had a chance to watch many handlers and dogs work and to learn from them. I had the chance to travel and enjoy a trial with my wife. I had a chance to put trial miles on my dog. I got the chance to learn about and with my dog. I had the chance to try to learn to be less socially awkward. I got to visit with and exchange dog theories with interesting people and friends. I got to watch people I help go out and work their dogs (not always to their desired standard, a feeling I understand) and feel happy for them. Finally to add to all that, I got to watch my wife win the Pro/Nov with her dog Jill; topping off the day.
I add a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself when trialing. I think things are worse then I should. This run for example, was a middle of the pack run, average for the day. Win, Lose, or Draw the only thing that matters is: did this experience improve or hinder your relationship. If it improved it it can be nothing but a good day. If it hurt it, well maybe a little work on the ego is in order.
With a little attitude adjustment, not worth getting up for became a good day. In the end, all I can say is: Life is Good.