This is the second year in a row Ronin has be privileged to be invited. Last year we couldn't go, and I must make up my mind quickly so that another person and dog can be invited if we don't go.
Why not go? Well, first off, it makes me really nervous. Not just being at that venue on that day, but starting about now I will become more and more nervous about Ronin's performance, and my handling goes kaput when I'm nervous. We do best when we just go to have fun, and don't worry about placement in the trial, let alone nationally.
Second, there are some really very good obedience competitors. Ronin is very good, also, but some folks are into this competition to an extreme degree. A lot of their own self-worth is involved. They practice diligently, frequently, and seriously. It is really important to them to win at any and all costs. We're not that way, Ronin and I. We love to do obedience, and like to do it as best we can. But we're not perfectionists, nor is it really that important to us. We are happy to compete, somewhat happier to qualify. Anything beyond that is just fun. It hurts when we show poorly, mainly because it is inevitably my fault. I've got my own problems that I carry into the ring. But I'd just as soon keep a happy level of competition than to force both of us to perfection. It doesn't thrill me to beat anyone else--I'm just am happy when we do our best. The competition at the Nationals, from the tales friends have told me, is simply too serious. I don't want us to be there only to be fodder for the top dogs (Labs, Border Collies, and other OCD types and their OCD handlers ;^).
Third, that is a 2 day trip, 2 day show, 2 day return trip (plus maybe an extra rest day before the competition). I'm retired on fixed income, and although I could save up to go that would mean cutting back on smaller, more local obedience trials. These local trials are the ones we enjoy. We'd forgo a lot of enjoyment for a long, expensive trip where we'd get stomped. I'm not sure I'd enjoy that: I've already developed a humility that I'm quite proud of, thank you very much.
On the other hand, we've been given a second chance to go. And even knowing we probably wouldn't finish in the top 32 and get eliminated early, it would be a once in a lifetime chance to do something outrageously bold. With proper attitude, we'd be happy enough.
So I need to think, and not be influenced by others who have other agendas, to make up my mind. Should we go?