Inches from brilliance

Written on the plane ride to KY:

I’m writing this from 30,000 feet, over the Atlantic Ocean. I’m on my way home from the 2011 World Championships. Solar and I didn’t have a single clean run. Skunked, in International style, in front of over 10,000 people. Maybe over 15,000; that stadium was PACKED. The thing is that I’m actually quite

Photo by Carrie DeYoung

Solar and Daisy, Ind JWW (Photo by Carrie DeYoung)

pleased with my runs; each and every run was literally INCHES from greatness. In our first run, Solar was INCHES from a decent takeoff for the broad jump. A takeoff just a few inches different would have kept that last broad jump board from falling…and yielded a clear round. In team JWW, I was just INCHES from where I needed to be to help Solar make the weave pole entry. In team STD, I took Solar just a few INCHES too short to set up a jumping effort that would have prevented a back jump. And, in individual STD, I stuffed Solar in to an off course tunnel that was just INCHES from the on course a-frame, under which said tunnel was nestled.

So, every run, within INCHES of brilliance. On the one hand, I’m obviously disappointed about the results, since they sure don’t look great on paper. But really, it’s hard to be too upset about the errors that occurred, hard to be upset over INCHES. Certainly I’ve got some things I’d like to work on, although after USDAA Nationals, Solar will be on the bench for a while, getting some much deserved rest for at least a few weeks. And given my reservations about being able to get past some of the nasty challenges the judges were putting up that seemed aimed directly at those with running dogwalks, I’m VERY happy to report that not once did we have even a bit of trouble. So, I feel like I can put THAT particular demon to rest (and maybe the judges can too, although it doesn’t really matter to me at this point, hah!).

This morning, I woke up in my hotel room in Arras, where we’ve been for the last week, and felt that familiar bit of emptiness that comes (at least for me) on the heels of World Championships. The first year, it hit me pretty hard. Last year, I was more careful with myself, and plus, finishing 6th in the world made it pretty easy to coast for a while after the event, emotionally. This year, though, was different yet again. I woke up, had a twinge of emptiness, sadness, maybe depression, but really, I welcomed all of those feelings as old friends, and recognized them as signals of yet another chapter closed, the jumping off point for something NEW, the start of another year, another cycle.

I went to bed last night pretty wrung out emotionally; there’s nothing quite like watching somebody earn the title of World Champion, and when it’s one of your teammates, it’s even more exhilarating. And on top of watching Ashley and Luka get a gold medal, Karen Holik and Sizzle retired as International competitors, receiving their record book kept by AKC for WC. It was an emotional moment. Karen and Sizzle first competed for team USA in 2003 in Lievin, and have been on the team every year since. Just incredible.

But, every year that I’ve had the privilege of being on the team, I get a little more resilient, and so I can already feel a little excitement building in me for AKC nationals, WT Tryouts, and (hopefully) WC again next year. I’m itching to improve upon my results from last weekend. After all, we were just INCHES away from greatness 😉

For now, it’s on to KY and to the USDAA World Cynosport games. Hopefully I’ll be alive by Wednesday to compete, and not completely exhausted. I’m looking forward to getting back on to USA soil. I spoke enough French during the trip to give myself a pretty good headache, and I understand just enough to get myself in to trouble. So, I’m looking forward to English. Also looking forward to getting back on to a steady Internet connection; the online classes have suffered a bit these last few days I’m afraid 🙁