Answers to the questions posed on Full Tilt's blog.
Why is "competitive" a bad word for many people?
- Because for some people it has connotations of "win at any cost". Implying that the dog is promptly beaten with a two-by-four if it misses a contact or weave, etc. I personally am very competitive and happy to be so. I love being in the biggest, most competitive jump heights and classes. I love it more when I win, but when I don't I am frustrated for a bit, then go home and make myself better.
Should everyone be given a "participation ribbon"?
-This is a sport, not kindergarten. I am NOT paying an extra $1 a class just so everybody gets a dinky ribbon. Nothing is free. If you want a ribbon, earn it. I do not subcribe to the "rainbows 'n butterflies" philosophy.
If you want to win, why do people assume you will have a bad attitude?
- as others have answered, because some of the people who want to win DO have a bad attitude, and they blame their attitude on wanting to win. I want to win, and I think MOST of the time I do not have a bad attitude. I like to think of myself as taking no BS and not involving myself in "cliques", and sometimes I come off a bit unsocial, but I don't think it's a bad attitude.
Is there anything wrong with doing agility "just for fun"?
- no but don't expect to beat me, or other competitive people. This is a sport, not just a game. You can have fun, sure. I have fun. And for that matter, "just for fun"? I do agility because I LOVE it - which means it's fun for me. My dogs have fun, I have fun, but I am ALSO competitive. I do sometimes correct my dogs in a negative manner for things regarding agility. Not with a two-by-four, and not for things they don't understand.
Why do some people think competitive people are to be avoided?
- Because some competitive people ARE to be avoided. Especially if they had a bad run. Whew!
If you fail, why do people make excuses? (my dog had the fastest time in standard, well yeah, they knocked 2 bars and missed their A-frame contact....but STILL).
- Well first, I don't think that's an excuse, per se. An excuse would be "my dog didn't win because I held my contacts" as another commenter posted. This is more of an example of someone trying to demonstrate to others that their dog really IS the best dog. Which, like healthy trash talk, is a perfectly healthy thing for someone to think about themselves/their dog. I am much more bothered by someone saying "gosh my dog really sucks!"
Do people that are not as competitive actually have BETTER dogs due to the lack of pressure to perform perfectly?
- Nope. They sure don't beat me, anyway. And my dogs are great "dogs" as well, they sleep in the house, on the couch, on the bed, and go hiking several hours a week...
Why must a person that wins be almost OVERLY humble, almost to the point of not even being happy for what they did?
- now THIS I have an answer for. Because our society punishes braggarts. It's NOT accepted to walk around after a great run boasting about it, even if it is justified. It IS ok to smile and be happy, but if someone congratulates you, you are not allowed to say "Yeah it sure was great! We're the BESTEST!". Now when I win, I don't say much because A) I already know I'm the best, no surprise there:) and also B) I'm just not an emotional person. No drama. Sorry.
Why can't many people be happy and gracious when others are successful?
- As someone else answered, because if someone else won, it means the other person didn't. And as Mia mentioned, sometimes the people who won dont' deserve happy and gracious congrats. OR they've gotten so many already they don't need more.
Do "just for fun" people always have a more positive outlook on trialing than those that are more competitive?
- Do "just for fun" people trial? Why? Thought they were doing it just for fun? Oh now they want TITLES just for fun??? I think they're lying to themselves.
Why do people spend a great amount of their time looking for that PERFECT dog to "take them to the spotlight"?
- I don't look for the perfect dog "to take me to the spotlight". I look for one of the many dogs with the potential to be a great agility dog. I am the one who will craft it into a spotlight dog, or not. That said I certainly did have my share of non-spotlight dogs. And the dog IS a good part of the equation. It is patently NOT TRUE that a good handler/trainer can win in agility with any old border collie chosen at random. But there are many, many different pups that could potentially win with the right mix of encouragement, training, conditioning, and handling.
All in all, I AM a competitive person. I DO want to be on the World Team (I'm on one already). I don't think I've ever come off as unapproachable to anyone who's actually approached me. I DO look a bit unapproachable when I'm off on my own being the introvert I naturally am. I tend to inspire a feeling in people that I am mean, or have no sense of humor, am cold, etc. None of which are true. I am just an introvert by nature and don't gravitate to chat with people I don't know. As far as bad attitudes go, I have been around most every big name person in the sport at some time or another, and some definitely have questionable attitudes. There are certain people I avoid after a bad run, certain people I congratulate and some I don't. I don't tend to expound upon the amazingness of others, as I believe I'm better than everybody, and I LOVE a good-natured trash-talking session.
Agility is a COMPETITION. It is also my LIFE. I've been doing it since I was all of 10 years old. I will probably never stop.