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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why Not the World Team?

While living in the Pacific Northwest, I've often been ridiculed and put down because I have no desire to be an agility World Team Member (apparently that's the 'in' thing here). I don't think less of those that dream of being members and in fact, I admire those who have dreams and work hard to make those desires come true. I just know it's not the right decision for ME. I made that decision almost a decade ago and have been happy with it ever since.

What folks in the Pacific Northwest don't realize is that I've been around agility for a long, long time. In fact, far before the inception of the World Team. Long ago I competed with the best, traveled across the country with the best and knew the "who's-who" before they became the "who's-who". Over the decades, I've watched people emotionally fall to pieces, crash under pressure and act in a way that even they weren't proud of. It happens to most of them at one time or another and I've seen it all.

What most people don't realize is that for those working to be at the top, there is a lot of pressure from spectators constantly watching, from those who are judging every move and even more expectations for them self that go unnoticed. Given these conditions, it is inevitable that people will crack.

I feel that I've been very smart in my decisions as they pertain to the dog world. For one, I don't feel the need to prove to myself or to anyone else what I can and have accomplished. Second, I don't feel the need to be in the spot-light. Every time I walk out onto the Agility field or engage one of my dogs, I do it strictly for personal reasons.

Those going for WT status must make them self #1 or they'll never get to where they want to go. Another reason I wouldn't make a good WT member is that I do fully commit myself to my students, heart, mind & energy. When I'm teaching, the moment is about my students and NOT about me. I'll admit that I harbor a secret desire to guide my students further than they thought possible - there's nothing like seeing the light glow in their eyes the moment they accomplish something they never thought possible. I'm not saying WT folks aren't great instructors, but they're much smarter about their emotional investment and smartly keep the best for them self.

I had an old boss once tell me that not everyone in a group could be a go-getter and that every group needed their steady-eddies. For those who are World Team bound, it requires a great deal of self-preparation, training (both mentally & physically) and an intense inner drive and focus. Those bound for WT make immense sacrifices and work hard to stay focused on their task. 

Personally, I know I'm just as driven and intense (just ask my husband), the difference is that instead of focusing on a singular item, I desire more of a balance in my life and chose to focus my time and energy on multiple items that bring me joy. It doesn't mean that one is right or one decision is wrong, it simply means we all have free will and can do whatever we chose with our given lives.

It's a pretty neat concept when you think of it because it guarantees that none of us will be exactly a like. It adds variety to our world and it also gives us the chance to appreciate each person for their individual desires and choices.

Whatever your choice is, just be sure you're true to yourself. If you don't want to be a WT member, that's Okay! If you do, get a plan together and make it happen. Whichever path it is, I would caution that you don't loose yourself in the process. Make a list of things that are important in the whole of your life and be sure you're giving care to those items as well as living your dream.

From someone who has been there/done that and seen a whole lot more than I let on, take my free advice and remember that ultimately only YOU can make you happy.

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