Usually after every big event I like to reflect on the happenings, results, and my experiences. So as the fun of this years AKC Nationals comes to a close, I’m setting my work aside for a few minutes to reflect. There were several things that I enjoyed about this years nationals, one of them being my own personal attitude toward the event. I didn’t feel that I HAD to do well, and I found that I was able to enjoy my runs much more than if I struggled with every mistake that occurred.
This national was especially great for my dogs and I, we had phenomenal runs and I’m quite happy with the improvements I saw in all of my dogs. This is where I’d like to address the splitting of the 20″ dogs for round 3 Hybrid. Yes, both of my dogs were listed in the top half, and yes, both of them made finals. This was due to the fact that they both had smooth clear runs in rounds 2 and 3. Now, at previous national events, my results were not so great and I knew going into day two, I was not making finals or challengers. That’s just what the cards held for me that weekend. So as I joked with a few close friends, who had already commented on how well my dogs had done the day before and that I was with the “winners”, that I had come to socialize with the “losers”. Taken out of context, this sounds pretty bad, huh. So when I jokingly said this to my friends, I didn’t expect to have it be taken seriously elsewhere. This was in no way meant to be derogatory to any of the handlers in that ring, nor was it to be taken as an insult. There was some pretty spectacular handlers in both rings, two runs do not define what anyone thinks of a team.
I apologize if anyone had taken my comment to mean that they were losers. I did not expect for it to be taken out of context or even out of my circle of friends. In reality, we all qualified for this event. The results play out differently each and every year. The past few years, I wasn’t close to making finals and who knows where I’ll end up next year. The fact of the matter is, one event does not determine who is a “loser” or a “winner”. My mom always used to tell me that no one will judge you for having a terrible event. Everyone has really terrible weekends and everyone will have spectacular weekends. Nationals is no different, I could have just as easily been eliminated in all my runs. We all watch our agility idols compete and mess up, get eliminated, etc. You cannot win every event but you can enjoy every event and isn’t that what this sport is about?
The one thing I love about this sport is the unpredictability of who will become the next champion. Everyone has an equal opportunity to become the next AKC National Agility Champion as they enter the event Saturday morning. For most of us, Nationals isn’t about going to win. One of my favorite parts is getting to socialize with my friends from all over the country. That’s what keeps me coming back each year.
For those that didn’t know, Seacrett’s last 20″ run was her finals run. It was such an emotional time for me, having so many people watch as her 20″ career came to a close and a whole new era opened up for us. She really has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Does it really matter if you win or lose? Isn’t this event about having fun and loving your dogs? If there’s anything I do know for sure, it’s that all my dogs have so much love to give and where would I be without them?