Did this team qualify? No. Did they have a great time? Yes. And so did I.

As instructors, officials, hosts and exhibitors we represent our respective sports. We are ambassadors for a sport, an organization, a culture to the uninitiated spectator, the freshman student and veteran competitor alike. We are often why individuals choose to give a new sport a try, finding the same joy and exhilaration we do in the unique partnership between human and dog. We can provide support and encouragement for a struggling team. We can find the positive while correcting the course with respect and dignity. We can help make a difficult day better. We can be honest while being kind. We can lift each other up, elevate our sport and help our community grow and succeed.

Through our words and actions, we can just as easily do irreparable damage. We can hurt an already hurting soul who found solace in our dog sport community. We can drag down a sport we loved by disparaging those around us, finding fault in everything and joy in nothing. We can drive our community into a mire of conflict. Even our one bad day can leave a lasting impression on a potential new participant who leaves the sport without ever giving it a try or send away a hard-working volunteer who is struggling to learn the sport.

I am human. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but going into this and every dog sport weekend, these are my goals:

I will respect the sport.

I will respect our community.

I will respect my dog.

I will respect the needs of others.

I will read the rule book.  Again.

I will do my best.

I will enjoy the moment.

I will celebrate the accomplishments of those around me.

I will find the positive.

I will find solutions.

I will laugh easily and often.

I will support and encourage others.

I will respect the venue.

I will let it go.

I will be proud of my amazing dogs.

I will support and encourage those around me.

I will think before I act.

I will learn from my mistakes.

I will respect myself.

I will remember why I play the game.

I will forgive myself for being human.


Photo by Go Do Go Photo