There are thousands of ways to blow a gorgeous qualifying round. There are only about ten different ways to nail it, win it, or even just get through it. So let’s talk about those thousand of ways to just blow it. Sure, there’s the typical dropped bar, missed contact, wrong course kind of run but there are some really, really awesome ways to just absolutely blow it.
I’ve got a lot of first hand experience with the ridiculous happenings inside the ring. It seems to me that terriers find this a most satisfying challenge. There’s the ingenious lay on the ground and itch for 30 seconds, grab the shirt and tug like a maniac and self reward, and one of my ultimate favorites, the trip and fall. In the moment, it is probably the most humiliating things (I have fallen down in the most inconvenient of places), but later, when taken out of context, it is absolutely hilarious.
What actually counts is how the initial moment of humiliation is dealt with. The best reaction is probably laughter, but that rarely happens, because when you’re laughing you really can’t get up and run. But on a more extreme end of things, screaming is the worst reaction, dogs typically don’t like being screamed at, nor does the judge like it, and it’s the best way to get a whistle blown at you. I immediately go into training mode, trying knew moves and pushing a little harder. Later I learned to laugh, I really do fall down a lot.
There are also runs that don’t really end up being funny, they end up being that one mistake forever remembered at every big competition. Kicking yourself for two plane rides home over one, very small mistake. Those are the runs that last forever, the ones that effect every run after that. It’s a hard thought to put on the back burner. On a positive note, one never makes the same mistake again!
The entire agility community has one thing in common, from the first-timer to the world team member, we are all really good at NQing. Most of the fun of the sport is laughing at those funny moments, and enough of those moments builds an incredible handler, who is still very good at NQing.