18 August 2009

The dork factor.

The slide into dog agility has always been a slippery slope for me. Started with a treat bag and had to buy "athletic" footwear. Then a skort somewhere along the way, then maybe another. You purchase a giant blue pop up tent. Sun hats. Gore tex shoes and moisture wicking socks. Fleece. And the fleece can be a vest! And before long, totally confirmed. Dork. Any traces of hipster cuteness, fully engulfed into a flaming pile of sports bra and pvc and sunscreen.

We just don't feel good about this. Ego. EGO. We try. We look for inspirational quotes that say stuff like, Get your head out of your ass.

Is that inspirational?

I put on my weirdo sun hat that makes Gary cringe, and that I am pretty sure is like having a stamp across my chest that says Certifiable Crazy Lady, and try to hold my head up high. Instead of wondering, would Brody or Camille ever wear this? You might not know Brody or Camille. They're not reading this. I slipped so far off the slippery slope they got scared and now we only communicate with Christmas cards. Let's just say. They would not wear that sunhat. Ever. Don't even utter the words fleece vest.

I'm not saying I was ever uber cool. Far from it. It was always a struggle. Starting from those ugly shoes you made me wear in elementary school, Mom. That's right. Hi Mom! My mom reads this. And she doesn't care who sees her in her sunhats. But those shoes were so UGLY. And the knockoff jeans from Sears in junior high. Sears! Junior high! Near death experience. I struggled. STRUGGLED. Because other people might be looking. And thinking, she is so not cool. Which like, in junior high, yeah. Really sucks. When you are over 40, shouldn't you be completely over it if you are a nice well adjusted human being?

Do nice, well adjusted human beings do photo shoots of gophers demonstrating complex dog agility moves?

I know that when me and the dogs practice by ourselves, no one looking, they are faster and more accurate, and unbelievably amazing. And when everyone sees them at the dog show or when we practice with friends or in a class, they're sort of like, ho hum. Whatevs. Nice little doggies. Kinda zippy, kinda cute, but you know. Whatevs. Like I never feel nervous at a dog show, but for some reason, even though my goal is always to train exactly like I want them to run in the show ring, the show ring result, a little bit lacking. Or sometimes, a lot lacking. The other day, we had a sort of fun match practice. They were fine. But not the TOTALLY FANTABULOUS AMAZING I know they can all be.

And even when I'm practicing by myself and I decide to try and get a video, which never, ever turns out right anyways, something isn't right. They're fine. They're ok, but it's not the same.

Here. Watch. They're fine. They're fast. I think Gustavo beats Otterop by a second or 2. But neither of them as NUTSO, over the top fast and driven as when I did it before I turned on the camera. This is a criteria that I want! Nutso! Over the top! GO! Even though I don't have to actually show anyone the video, I could download it and hit delete, just that pesky little camera eye watching makes me blush.

*Ruby was on break during the filming of this video.

When it's just me and my dogs, my inner dork is what has become my biggest motivator. When it's just me and dogs, frisbee is a manic screaming game of snapping shark teeth and zucchini loaf airs above the ground. Ruby's tennis ball chasing has her ass over tea kettle, spinning donuts on the grass. Gustavo's furry thing on a rope is like a bi polar puppet show between monkey scream banshee and tongue speaking carny barker on acid. Whoa. Way more fun.

But when others are looking, these things are like simulacra fun. Yeah. Like as much fun as reading about fun in a big fat book by Jean Baudrillard. Yeah, we have treats. Otterpop's frisbee. Ruby's mini tennis ball. Gustavo's furry thing on a rope.

G e t - t h e - f r i s b e e.

Bo-ring. I don't mean to be that boring, but the second I flick the camera over to video setting, I think that something changes. Suck in your stomach and don't let your pants fall down. Make sure those dogs look GOOD.

So could this be it? The missing link to a stellar, smoking fast, winning run? My dogs just want the dork and all I can think about is I'm wearing the wrong pants or gonna turn the dog the wrong wa? I suspect it goes a lot deeper than that. Some kind of inferiority complex. Not wanting to fail. I dunno. But next time you see me totally dorking out with one of my dogs, just avert your eyes and be happy my head is back on my neck where it belongs.


Elayne said...

If only they would hold all the trials at my practice field and let me do all my runs before everyone else showed up.

I have the same disconnect between training and trialing and I never cared about what I wore in Junior High so I can't even use that for an excuse.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have connections with "What Not to Wear" -- just send this in as an application.

Anonymous said...

try saying this to yourself as you are getting dressed to go to a trial and packing your hideous hat to keep skin cancer at bay ( how much cooler does it get than not having cancer?) and the skort that is longer than the skorts those under 30s wear: " anyone who thinks i am uncool is so uncool i don't care what they think." and before you know it, saying it will make it so.
and really, at a trial, it IS just you and your dog in the ring. well, except for the judge, who is there to watch our contacts for us and tell us when we have gone astray so we can concentrate on run run run.

Misa said...

intercoastal dork hi-five! I've felt like the "What Not To Wear" team have been skulking around, about to pop out at me, for years. Don't caaaaaare!