24 February 2010

It might help to explain it to me if you use really big crayons and talk super loud.

Perhaps, if you were driving by on a country road out near my work yesterday morning, in the rain and quite early, you saw me out on our practice field, running back and forth, over and over again, over a few silly little plastic jumps. And you thought, boy does that look dumb. What the hell is she doing? It's raining, and skinny jeans, not so becoming when they're soaked on people shaped like that. And it's so early? WHAT is that lady DOING out there?

Well, what I was doing was trying to cram big time on homework. For my night school class, a basic little, low level handling focus class aimed at those a little newer to the sport of agility, people with young dogs, or who are just learning what is this thing we call a front cross and why we use it. A class I took to brush up on Derrett skills with my favorite Laura who isn't me, and brush up on skills for teaching my own students. A class that covers things that I thought I was already good at. A class in which, as it turns out, I am the total special ed student of.

You know that person in your class? The instructor stays quite patient with them, explains things slowly, walks over and draws little lines in the sand to show them where to put their feet. And they need to repeat the exercise more than anyone else because they're just sort of not getting it. Sometimes they need a special exercise, just for them, that might break it down just a teensy bit more.

I always have someone like this in my agility classes I teach. I try to be very kind and patient, and do my best to find a way to explain the thing to them that they just can't get. Maybe they are a little less coordinated than the other students. Have a challenging dog. Forgot to wear sneakers. They are new at this agility thing, and as an agility instructor, I am an ambassador to learning. Afterwards, I may even give them a little hug and tell them what a super job they did, and how they will get it one of these days if they just keep working at it really hard.

At work all day, lots of students like this. All day long, I climb patiently off the fence, and walk over and pull people's feet or canter around a corner myself or have them lean back so their head touches their horse's tail, whatever it takes to get the point across to those that have a hard time getting it. IT can be anything. Some people just have a harder time at it than others.

I am that person in the Monday evening Basic Skills group.

A kind sheltie lady sitting in the plastic lawn chair nearest me told me, someday, maybe they will have a diagram for us where to put our feet. I'm like, "Like a Twister mat?" and she nodded brightly, thinking perhaps this would help me figure it out a little better.

Can you say, humbling?

Not really sure what happened. Laura (the Derrett one) used the term sloppy multiple times. If there was one thing in dog agility I would have said I was actually good at, I would have said handling courses with lots of front crosses. Except, right now, I stand before you, very humbled, and wet.


maryclover said...

Laura don't worry we all ride the short bus from time to time. For me it's remembering the course, but in honor of lent I've given up forgetting the course. We'll see if it helps come nationals time.

As they say the first step toward conquering the problem is admitting you have one. And if you decide to create a front cross twister mat to ad to your robot empire, I'll sign up to buy one.

Jodi said...

This reminds me of a time long ago in ballet class when you were minding your own business being Clara from the Nutcracker Suite and the teacher would clap her hands to stop the clanging piano player which would stop all the pink leotarded gumbys mid tendue and the teacher instructed you to repeat the excercise with all the wide-eyed bunheads staring and you didn't know if you were doing it good or bad but still had to give it your all knowing when you were done she may say "Terrible" with a Russian accent.
Humbling, indeed.
You may have late front crosses but you are the best blogger in the whole wide world.

Alaska said...

I have it on good authority that dog agility was invented for the sole purpose of humbling us.*

The rare moments when everything actually goes right are merely a fluke, so don't get too focused on them.

(*But secondarily to give us an excuse to hug our dogs in public.)

team small dog said...

I am continually humbled. Sometimes worse than others. I guess that's the life lesson part. The other part is, oh hell. I really want to be better.