03 December 2013

Mental Games, where we play along to figure out if an eternally grateful, spotless mind brings about dog agility success, or as Mental Baseball player ex-Giant current Dodger Brian Wilson, tells us, Fear the Beard.

Did you ever play this game from the '70's that involved dropping tiny, plastic milagros into orifices on a naked, overweight clown, and then attempting to extract each talisman without tasering the clown, with your miniature, electrified forceps? I think the clown would light up, his screams muffled by his double chin. This game was pretty fun, and I believe helped prepare me for all the mental games I face today as an agility competitor. Have you seen one of our bad runs? And barely heard my screams muffled by my double chin? In general, I'm not much of a gamer. I consider dog agility serious business. Games makes me think of my college boyfriend's combatbooted warlock pals drooping around my living room chainsmoking bongs while they rolled 18 sided dice to find out which troll slays the gorgon before slicing up the futon with somebody's genuine sword, anyways. Roll it, Klingon! Gooooaaallll!

The Mental Game though, it's like Crate Games for the mind. Yer in yer out yer in yer out yer in. Yer out. Back in! Stay in. Break FREE! Dog agility puts a lot of stress on the brain. Which is so weird, because aren't dogs supposed to reduce your blood pressure, make you healthier, help you live a longer life? In dog agility, everything old is new again, so let's look at some vintage Mental Games that help us navigate today's high pressured dog agility world.

One good one is Mental Clue. As in, get one. And maybe it will help find my keys. As in, why am I so secretly happy because my little doggy came in first place? As in, why do the depths of despair kick in after that tunnel fiasco during the snooker opening? As in, is Clue and the finding of them even a game that exists any more? Are the clues the same thing as all the advice in visualizing and self talking positivity words? Will I get another cease and desist letter if I called it Mental Management? It ends when you get bashed in the skull with a candlestick by Mistress Peacock in the boudoir. Sit in Jail. Many questions asked, no clue revealed, no beer opened. Lose a turn.

Mental Passiveagressive Poker? This is a great game. I just typed the word "Great" with a sarcastic sneering tone. It's the one where you hold the card up to your forehead and you bet. You are usually drinking while you're doing this. Actually, thinking about it, pretty many games in general involve drinking. Perhaps what dog agility sometimes lacks? When someone guesses which card you have plastered up there, they bare their pearly fangs and say something really condescending and then call you a bitch under their breath. If they lose. It goes along with shooting Mental Pool. You will lose! Unless you are David Blaine, and in this case you are probably possessed by Satan. Move back 2 spaces, unless you pulled the Joker off because it was Gamblers. Spin the bottle. Keep spinning.

Mental Twister? We got this one. We have even played the Dog Agility Version, way back when, back in our baby days of agility naiveté. If you played, way back when, you get Twister bonus points! In the form of inspirational quotes! About how awesome FAILURE IS! Especially if you haven't improved since 2008. When teams get picked for Mental Kickball, I am right up there with last. Have you ever tried to get a DAM team with a dog who can't do the teeter and sometimes runs away? Mental Twister helped us develop skin of kevlar. Advance further, grasshopper!

Mental Tennis is a timeless classic. My favorite tennis player is Richie Tennenbaum. His headband makes me swoon. And wristbands. And now look what happened. My mind has already wandered off tennis to the entire film library of Wes Anderson and all the hipster control freak art directives he gives. Most excellent use of camps and canoes, squirrels and maps, all color coordinated and stacked neatly in place. When I grow up, I would like to be the Wes Anderson of Dog Agility. Except I believe I lack that control freak gene and superpowers that come from ocd. But I do so love talking foxes.

If you lean towards control freakage, and have a bit of the ocd, you are probably good at dog training. Blackjack. Parcheesi. Games that have a lot of rules. Which are most of them. These all do me in. Turns out, the part of games I especially like is at the end when you climb on the table and jump up and down and scream something like, I SINK YOUR BATTLESHIP or I SURRENDER or YOU'RE IT! Usually with running. Even if in the rules, there was no running, my version may add running.

Those personality traints I lack, such as rules following and attention to detail are pluses for dog agility, but are not neccessary for Mental Pictionary. Do you know how to play this? Draw something, frequently abstract concepts, as fast as you can! You know who is going to win THAT game? I am. In my mind. Because this is what my mind might actually look like. A scrawl. Scrawled fast. With DOGS! Very fast, so very scrawlike. A million scrawls on the back of envelopes and postits! So scrawly that maybe nobody can actually make it out unless they have the abilities of the amazing Kreskin. Otterpop. This may be a mental game that I could win.

If my Mental Game of dog agility looked less like Mental Pictionary, and more like Game of Thrones, things would be different. My whole life would be different. But we have the brains we have.

The excellence of games brain is probably one of those elusive keys to being a champ, assuming that championdom can be made into a game. That lives in your mind. With the stacks. And piles. And Klingons. Feathery sketches of foxes stacked up against clouds. Amazonian drones dropping parcels on your patio. Unicorns. Pumas.

Luckily, in my mind, it's always my turn. And I am probably the winner. Except for when I'm not. And I have the best team ever! Team small dog! Hence, why the jumping up and down yelling, in case you see me doing this and you were wondering. My team just won my mental game.

To read more dog agility blogs about the Mental Game, visit this here: http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/the-mental-game/


team small dog said...

Oh gosh, sorry about the brain scanning waves! I didn't know they had such a strong effect via the internet frequencies!

Unknown said...

So good the topic barely matters!

Anonymous said...

another use for the versatile app! i am going to download Wes Anderson's temporal lobe and hope that it will clean up my act. and maybe my kitchen and do my laundry and resurface all my contact equipment. with rubber.
thanks TSD!

Jodi,eh? said...

Operation was the only board game I ever liked. I did like playing Red Rover, Champ, and Miss Mary Mack too. I don't like rules, especially when OCD military style training Tony Robbins mental head games types are in charge because folks end up weeping and dogs hide a lot. The trick of having a good agility day is having the best lunch prepared and a friend or two who have your back. This allows my scrawly scratchy lined brain scan to not freeze into a heap on the bottom of my skull. Rally on TSD!

Unknown said...

Small dogs Rock.

Full. Stop.

Anonymous said...

And this one A+++++. It's perfect

Anonymous said...

And this one A+++++. It's perfect