This one time, at dog camp…

Do you remember the character Michelle from the teenage-angst film, American Pie? She is the one who started almost every sentence with, “This one time, at band camp…” then launched into a story that was probably only entertaining to her fellow band-campers.

What, you don’t remember? Here’s a clip:

Yeah, well, that was probably me in my middle school, high school and university years… “this one time, at band class…” and then “this one time, at the theater…”. I played the flute and some other instruments to a nice level of mediocrity, and did better for myself (and fellow musicians) as a conductor. And NO, I wasn’t as, um, “adventurous” as the character in the film (for those of you who might be wondering!)

This one time, at band camp... my first year in Marching Band!

It has been decades since anything resembling band camp, but I have noticed lately that life has become more about “this one time, at dog agility…”  True, it doesn’t have to be “dog camp”, it can be “dog class” or “dog doctor” or “dog show” or “dog seminar” or anything dog-related. Has anyone else noticed that we can spend 8 or 9 hours training the little buggers and obsessing on exactly which arm should go where and when… then go out to dinner and spend another three hours talking about dog agility (or dog training or dog toys or dog people or dog bodily functions)? 

Exie and I in the French Quarter, on the way to dog camp in NoLa. Exie earned those beads!

 “This one time, at dog camp…”

Then we all get up the next day, rarin’ to do it all again.

We are crazy! But we love it and are damn lucky to be able to do it…

Lucky to be able to pursue this sport and game with our four-legged buddies, to the level of obsessiveness of our choice…  you can choose to keep the “this one time, at dog camp” lifestyle close to home, with local classes and local events. Or, you can choose to go national (or international!) with the game – there are at least 4 major international events (in 2012, I will get to go to 3 of them!) and in the US, each agility organization as many opportunities to compete regionally and nationally. That is a whole lotta “dog camp” conversation starters!

Chillin' in Prague, on the way to the major Dog Camp known as the European Open

The hardest thing here is to keep it all balanced with family, friends, work and other hobbies. When a group of dog camp buddies go out for dinner with our spouses and significant others, we have tried to place a moratorium on any discussions involving dogs (especially any conversations involving dog poop or puke while others are eating.) As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for ya?” 

At least we try 🙂

And it is fun to find spend time with our dog pals and meet people from around the world. Our shared passion for the game, as well as text messages and the ease of social networking  has opened up amazing opportunities to maintain friendships with people all over the planet. The variety of people I meet is mind-boggling, and then to think that we all gather to run our dogs on obstacle courses… well, it makes this ol’ head spin a bit.

Exie and his new friends from the Swiss team at the EO! I wonder if they bark with an accent?

And, many of us here in the USA are getting ready for one of the biggest “this one time, at dog camp” events of the year: USDAA’s World Cynosport Games in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a mere 14 hour drive from my house, far better than the 40 hour drive to Scottsdale, Arizona, which was the site of several years worth of major dog camp experiences. 
We are also sharing a group dog camp experience by following the FCI World Agility Championships, running this weekend in France! The USA has sent a terrific team, and so has Canada… and the UK… and so has many other countries… best of luck to all of them!
And my understanding is that part of the FCI’s “this one time, at dog camp” experience is group line dancing during course changes. Seriously, this needs to become part of the North American experience. Anyone care to lead the charge on this one? If you’ve seen me dance, you know that I am better off NOT volunteering for that gig.
I’m also taking volunteers for the job of telling Rebound that his retirement is over and he will be running at Cynosports this year. I haven’t mentioned it to him yet, it just hasn’t come up in any of our “this one time, at dog camp” conversations.

Um, buddy, um, you gotta get off the couch, you've running Snooker in 5 minutes...

So as I pack and get ready for the Kentucky adventure, I am looking forward to sharing the week with all sorts of folks that I’ve met through this game we all play. Some will get to share it in person (Group D, baby!!!) while many others will be at home watching the livestream or following along on Facebook or Twitter.
See you all at dog camp!

Exie on the teeter in the Grand Prix last year. Rock on, white dog!


5 responses »

  1. Have a great time at Cynosports, Tracy! I bet Rebound will enjoy coming out of retirement. 🙂 Best of luck to you and the crew — can’t wait to hear the latest “This one time, at Cynosports . . .” stories!

  2. You’re brave, Tracy, admitting to playing the flute while drawing attention to Michelle’s escapades at band camp. 😉

  3. Have fun at the big dog camp in Kentucky! We’ll be at the smaller dog camo in Syracuse but having just as much fun as you guys 🙂

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