The first time I experienced this interesting life phenomena was many years ago when I was mountain bike racing. I trained with a good friend who was going to race with me but the first day of the race season she was training for a marathon. I went alone and as I walked down that long line of cars with bikes and teams, the fear crept in.. Did I really want to do this? Why am I doing this? Can I do this? I was alone and no one could support me with their encouraging words.
I made myself continue walking down that long line of cars to check into the mt. bike race in Case Grande, Arizona. AND.. that day I not only won my division but also got asked to be on the Cannondale Mountain Bike Racing Team that season. It was an amazing year. I met so many cool people in my division. Had so many challenges but it was one of those once in a life time opportunities that I could have missed if I had closed the door and walked away that day.
This exact experience came to me with Kaffee’s OTCH journey. On Saturday at the obedience show in Tucson, AZ we had a disappointing and discouraging day. Kaffee did not qualify in his Utility B class and lost his run off for a 3rd place in Open B. Kaffee lost his qualification once again on his GO OUTS. I had no idea how to fix this since I have tried everything I thought including re-training the go outs for 3 months this summer.
With only 3 OTCH points remaining, I was ready to give up obedience after the last few disappointing shows. Perhaps if I had not had dinner scheduled with a good friend I might have left….
But I stayed for Sunday… just like I kept walking down that line of cars at the mountain bike race many years ago.
We went in and did Utility and got a second place – 1 OTCH point. OH NO, only 2 points left. There was no escape left for me.
We then went into Open B where the long DOWNS were first followed by the long SITS. If you have shown in Open you know this is often where dogs will break their SIT when it comes after the long down and NQ themselves often missing a beautiful score and win.
We had a lovely Open run …. And somehow I felt different when we did our heeling… Everything seemed lovely. We had compliments.. BUT.. the LONG DOWN and SIT remained.
Kaffee was perfect as were all the dogs in the class for the downs and sits part of the Open exercise.
The judge called us in for placements after all was finished. He first announced the winner…. “Dog number 305”. I was barely listening but my friends in the class knowing we only needed this win with 2 more OTCH points; they started screaming and cheering. I could not believe it… WE WON OPEN, GOT OUR REMAINING POINTS AND KAFFEE’S OTCH.
What was so amazing is that in looking back at our fall shows, this seemed almost to be scripted to be where we were suppose to finish our OTCH title. The past 3 shows were out of state where I traveled alone and knew almost no one. Finishing our points at those shows alone would not have been as memorable and special and AWSOME as it was in Tucson where I knew many people in our class from our training and showing. It was so incredible: these friends were genuinely happy, excited and for that moment in time shared my joy and accomplishment in this very long journey.
This was written by a friend in the class:
I'm thrilled to say I WAS there to join in all the cheers, hugs, jumping up and down and general hysteria!! I'd love to say that we came in 2nd just to let her finish, but I have to admit that Cynde and Kaffee had a beautiful run and finished in style--fair and square! I hope if we ever get lucky enough to get to that stage, that Shooter and I are surrounded by such a fabulous group of friends and supporters! It was a great moment (which went on for more than a few moments!) which I'm delighted to have shared with this great team!
I will never forget the moment when the judge announced Kaffee for first place…his 2 treasured points and his OTCH title. AND KAFFEE was High in Trial and High Combined (Open and Utility) dog for that day. Everything was so PERFECT. I will be forever thankful to those who celebrated that moment with me.
I am so happy that I documented my fear and self doubts in the last Blog post. Unless you have been on this journey it might be hard to understand the hills and valleys of emotions in an OTCH journey --- the joy of the wins and points; commitment to perfection in training and transferring this to showing; many many trips out of state, traveling alone to shows; disappointment; low class number with either no points or few points; self doubt with those dry spells and the fear of not being able to accomplish this dream. These titles do not come easy; they are not gifts given to us. It is as if part of the journey is experiencing and working through these personal challenges.
I still find it interesting that so many things lined up to make this final day perfect. It was as I wrote like it had been scripted that Sunday December 7th would be the day.
Susan Garrett’s ebook titled, “Without Pressure there are NO DIAMONDS.” How perfect. How true summing up our journeys, goals, and dreams with our dogs.