On Being a Champion
When I was 18 years old I went to work on a dairy farm. Now I was born and raised in a city of 300,000 people. I had no idea what to expect or what cows were all about. I applied to over 50 jobs that summer, most of them in a government program for finding students work. The only one that offered me a job was the Junior Agriculturist Program. I was a Jr Ag. The farmer I was sent to work for (Morely) and his wife (Thelma) used to poke fun at me because I dragged my heels and walked with my head down all the time. Then, after being at the farm for 6 days we had a Sunday afternoon off. Morely got out a baseball bat and some balls and two of his kids, a couple of the hired hands and I went to the field where Morely hit out fly balls to us. I rarely missed one. I was bowling people over, sprinting half way across the farm and skidding through cow paddies in order to get to a ball before it hit the ground. When it was all over Morely said to me. “You need to find a job that you can turn into a game for yourself and then you will be great at it!” It was such an innocent comment. One that you would make to someone just in passing, half mocking them and then never give it a second thought. However I have never forgotten it. I returned to that farm to milk cows for many summers after that, and yes I became great at it. I still remember that Sunday afternoon like it was yesterday and not all of those 11 years ago. . . okay you can stop laughing now.
I once read this quote “Champions in any field make a habit of doing things others find boring or uncomfortable.” I thought to myself, I really like the quote but it isn’t me. I would lose interest in things that were boring or uncomfortable, just like anyone else I would imagine. So how have I have managed to do alot of winning, even before I ever started in dog agility. I was on championship hockey and basketball teams starting when I was a kid. I won events in horse Dressage and did an incredible amount of winning in flyball and obedience prior to coming to agility. Here is how I changed the quote to better describe my thoughts on becoming a champion “Champions in any field make a habit of taking things that other people find boring or uncomfortable and turning them into a game for themselves.” It is all about the game for me, always has been, always will be.
I still drive up to that farm to visit from time to time, and I am still very grateful for all of the varied experiences that I enjoyed there (I have more cow stories then you can imagine!)