Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our Worst Trial Yet

Things just didn't click for us today.  I'm not sure what the problem is.  It was frustrating and, honestly, I didn't have fun.  I know I'm competitive and my happiness is tied to my performance.  I'd like to overcome those things but it's hard.  I feel like I did generally alright with staying positive with Jonah, but I think he can sense that I'm not fully happy.  sigh.

Round 1:  Wildcard Level 3
    This would have been our last level 3 wildcard Q, but no dice.  It started out with a jump to a tire to the first discrimination, which was an A-frame or tunnel.  The A-frame was the b obstacle, but it was right in line with the jump and tire, so I didn't think it would be a hard discrimination.  I was wrong.  Looking back, I'm not sure it was legal.  The rulebook says, "The parallel spacing between wildcard obstacles is 5' for all Levels."  These had no space between them.  They were your typical discrimination.  I was actually pleased to see the discrimination when I walked the course because we've been practicing them and Jonah's been doing really well.  Nonetheless, on course he charged right into the tunnel.  Anyway, that didn't matter so far as I could recover and get the other two "b" obstacles.  We got the first without any trouble and I thought we were free and clear, but then Jonah raced into the tunnel instead of the weaves in the third wildcard.  I saw it happening and yelled, but Jonah was full speed ahead and so we had a 0-fault NQ.  Frustrating and unlike him, but oh well.

Round 2:  Snooker Level 4
     I decided to go for 51 points.  The 7 point obstacle was the A-frame, which, coincidentally, had a tunnel discrimination under it.  We got our 1 and raced for the A-frame and before I knew it Jonah was racing through the tunnel.  Oh well, the tunnel was 6, so it wasn't much of a loss.  We got our second red and this time nailed the A-frame.  Third red.  This time I was determined to get the A-frame and I pushed for all my worth, but he stopped dead and wiggled his way around me into the tunnel.  Goof.  Anyway, then I thought we were good to go and we cruised through 2 and 3 and then...Jonah ran behind my back into the wrong side of a tunnel.  Again, unlike him.  At this point at least I was just shaking my head and saying it wasn't our day.

Round 3:  Standard Level 3
     Here's where things really got bad.  We had the same discrimination of tunnel/A-frame and I hemmed and hawed over how to best handle it.  I'd tried pushing in Snooker and pulling in Wildcard and neither worked.  I decided to lead out on an angle so he wouldn't even see the tunnel.  He was very good for the lead out but somehow managed to wiggle himself around the A-frame into the tunnel.  I couldn't help but call him a stinker.  Anyway, I brought him around to the A-frame and back into flow.  Then he refused the dogwalk.  He just ran right by it.  He loves the dogwalk.  Weird.  Once I got him on it he did have a lovely 2o2o contact, though.  The next couple obstacles went well and he weaved beautifully, but then we had a 180 and he jumped the backside of the second jump.  I have no idea why he did that--it was a rather irrational line and it would have been much easier for him to jump the correct side.  At that point I knew we were NQ'd, but we kept going until the next 180 where he ran right past the second jump.  Then he refused the teeter.  I have no.idea. what was going on in his head, but I took a deep breath, got playful with him, lined him up and powered through the closing line as fast as we could so that we could end on something like a positive conclusion.  A few people commented that I'd done a good job, and I was trying to be positive since I know how easily he shuts down when I'm upset, but internally I was fuming.  I thought about leaving right then.  We've NEVER had three bad runs like that in a row.  Argh!  The next round was Fullhouse, though, so I figured I'd stay for an easy Q.

Round 4:  Fullhouse Level 4
     Well, *finally* it was a pretty Q.  He ran past one jump, but otherwise it was a good run.  He hit 2 A-frame contacts (in fact, in 4 times over the A-frame today all his contacts were lovely).  He weaved nicely.  It was not our fastest and we didn't collect super high-points, but it was enough for a Q and 2nd.  Phew.

Round 5:  Jackpot Level 3
     I really wanted this Jackpot Q since we've fallen behind with them.  It was a very do-able course.  It was non-traditional, with 3 possible gambles.  We had 25 seconds in the opening and then 18 to get to the table, where the judge said we could continue to collect points.  We had to get one of the jackpots before the whistle blew.  I had made one plan, but when she said we could continue to collect points after the whistle I changed my plan so we could attempt all three gambles.  Well, the first (25 point) gamble proved a bit much for us, so I stepped over the line and got going.  We got the second (15 point) easily, and then cruised over to the third (20 point), which Jonah did beautifully.  The whistle blew while we were part way through the third, so we collected some points on our way across the ring to the table. I was pleased.  He did run by two jumps that I cued, but I found out later that I was directing him towards the backside of a double, so it wouldn't have given us any points, anyway.  So, we needed 40 points and I calculated that we'd gotten 50.  Finally a nice run!  Well, then I went to look at my scribe sheet, and we hadn't gotten credit for the 20 point gamble.  I was flustered and I hate to complain, but I wanted my Q!  So, I asked the judge in the big dog/small dog change.  She said you couldn't get a gamble after the whistle blew.  I told her that we had asked if you could continue to get points after the whistle and that we just had to get 1 gamble before it blew, but she was rather gruff and repeated that you could only get gambles before the whistle.  I replied that those instructions had never been verbalized beforehand and that I would have done my original plan if I had known that (where I would have done the 20-point and then the 15 point gambles and not worried about the 25), but she wasn't budging.  Yarg!  I like non-traditional gambles, but if you can't explain the rules things get pretty complicated.  I was upset, got right in the car and off we went.  I couldn't help but start crying and Jonah started getting worried that I was sad and then I just felt worse.  Yuck.

...hopefully next weekend is better...

I'm going to watch him carefully in the next few days for any signs of soreness.  He looked a little stiff when he got out of the car, but maybe I was just imagining it.  Obviously I don't want him to be uncomfortable, but I also wouldn't mind an explanation to today's wacky behavior.  He's never been lame before for more than a 10-minute 'stinger' type thing, so hopefully if it is a soreness thing it will heal itself quickly.  Of course, if he needs time he can have all the time he wants.

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