14 November 2016
Cynosports 2016, the wrapup of two National events, speak truth to power.
Banksy always speaks truth to power.
It was gobsmacking to wake up in the middle of a night, in an unfamiliar bed in a house with cactus and a swimming pool for a backyard, in a neighborhood of fancy shopping malls in the middle of a desert, and find out that Donald Trump was our new president. Then have to go do agility right after finding this out.
I'm not clear on what my purpose was, attending a National event. To be a champion, I guess. And I would like to brag about all my friends who did end up Champions. Too many too list! My agility BFF and Banksy's BFF, if you count one of her F's as Frenemy, won both the Steeplechase and Grand Prix finals, winning both is tremendous and a REALLY BIG DEAL. We celebrated by eating cheese and drinking wine on our patio for the week late at night. Then got up at 5am for more of the same.
Was I trying to prove something to me, to others? To Banksy? It's a lot of late nights and early mornings, travel time and fuzzy brains, frying dog brains, a lot of driving around in a desert, to be out in the open, exposed to the sun and so many people. Many people, all of the time. For someone who spends a lot of time hiding, there was a lot of exposure out there in Scottsdale. I have the sunburned lips to prove it.
I wasn't there just to have fun. I bought black sporty pants, for just in case I made a final. I was actually pretty sure I would, in Steeplechase. I was serious about this part. But I made a mistake, and that cost me time and threw me just out of the running. Eight dogs made the finals, my mistake made me number nine.
Been there before. I did that with Otterpop once and it knocked me out of the Grand Prix final, my first time as number nine. I still don't know how to not do this, after all this time. I recovered a lot quicker this time, once you make an error there's no undoing it, and you move on. Don't make the same mistake again, and try not to make any.
So I'm still not sure how to reconcile the two National Events that happened last week. Both were big deals, in their own big deal way. It was hard to do agility for about a day, I spent the post election grief day walking around collecting Trump hugs and weeping when I spotted the same grief faces on my friends. A lot of tears, tears from grownups that probably don't cry over very many things.
The problem was, usually at agility we have a bit of a bubble from Other Things, and the Other Things here really hit the fourth wall and festered open in our faces.
We were walking around a red state, there was a lot of wahoo going on too, happy red white and blue people who apparently are pleased about deporting immigrants and curtailing women's rights and human rights, wall builders who are happy to hear the racist and sexist rhetoric garbage spewing from the pinched lip little mouth of our new president. We were walking around with them and sharing porta potties with them and trying to beat their asses in every single class.
After a day, I put my head back into the game and ran my best. Banksy never considered not running her best. The first day she was hitting bars, which is unlike her and I chalk it up to my sad feelings and the craziness of the venue. So many dogs, so many people, so many golf carts, so many of everything.
The next day, she ran her heart out for me, and continued to do so every run after that. She hit every contact, blazed through all her poles, turned on a dime, and did some very hard things. The courses were hard. She did not put a foot wrong. OK, maybe some of her pushy startlines she did. But that was it.
I couldn't keep error free though. Several times, caught behind because of her blazing speed, caused a refusal or a wrong turn. Once lost my way for just the tiniest fraction of a second, but enough to muck up what may have been a dramatic win in team standard. And the Steeplechase Semi Final error really did break my heart, just for a few hours.
Things ended as they should. It may have been much easier to put agility into context, when the election events were hovering over them. It may have been easier because I've been there and done that before. It may have been easier because I had my friends there, who all have been there and done that. And it may have been easier because so many of my friends ran to greatness in their runs.
We all work hard for this. We all sometimes spend more time with our agility than we do on other things. The election may have woke us up like a slap in the face, we have to regroup and rethink and spend some time figuring out, what is our responsibility to keep the world from going to so much hate and wrong?
I drove across that desert in the heat, thinking how to be civic minded while still going for the prize? Last time I drove across that desert was in the wake of Rodney King. Those were some bad days. The election has the same sting, makes that desert seem tainted, still. But we got through it, although I don't know that things have really changed all that much since then.
I named my dog after Banksy, who always speaks truth to power. Who always speaks up for what's right, maybe just in different ways than everybody else. Me and her, we're a team. It's the gathering together of our minds that gives us this incredible gift, silly and tiny as it is, to run together as one. This is going to be the key for all our people, to move forward in days to come, days that are going to be black and ugly, no way around that, as we see what's to unfold come 2017.
We'll keep doing agility, we'll keep sorting all this out. Maybe we'll even go to another big event some day. Time will tell. It is what it is. There is a lot of thinking to do now, a lot of heart and bravery we'll be needing, a lot of voices that will need to be heard. We've left the desert and are ready to move forward.
by team small dog at 5:20 PM