Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Team, Team, Who's Got the Team?

SUMMARY: So many DAM events, so little coherence.

Remember back when you had maybe one DAM tournament every year or two somewhere in the general vicinity of a thousand miles? Those were the days.

In this USDAA-qualifying year, we have/have had five--FIVE!--DAM events within 2 hours of my home. I skipped the one in December because I wanted the time off. Leaves me with:
  • Haute TRACS (HT)in April: A major 4-day event, 4 rings, and not even on a holiday weekend. Team has always been Thursday/Friday there, so I can't even wait for the weekend.
  • NAF in June: A smaller trial--2 rings--by a small club but still popular because of the DAM.
  • Bay Team in July (BT July): The maniacs in my club have now announced our 7th--or is it 8th?!--multiple-ring event of the year on a new weekend, but wait, let's make it 3, maybe 4 days, too!
  • Bay Team SW Regional September (BT Regional): The big one. Three days, FIVE rings, can you believe it?

For the last 2 years, Tika has been teaming with Brenn and I like it. We don't have a steady partner yet since our original came up with glaucoma and can't really compete any more. But I abandoned her for Haute TRACS for a silly name--yes, I talked two other handlers into teaming up with us because our dogs' names, combined, sounded like "Tic-tac-toe". It was a total lark, although the dogs are good, too. So Brenn went off and found another team for HT.

Meanwhile, I had confirmed with Brenn that we'd team with our one-time teammate, Savanna (who came up with "Borderin' on K-Aus", which we used with a different dog at Nationals), at NAF and at BT July.

Boost's sister, Bette, had arranged by email for us to team with Trek for Haute TRACS, who we tried to team with last year but then Trek got injured; we had used the team name "Sisters on a Trek" anyway, with a different team, but now we were goood. Well, found out this weekend that some of the email never arrived, so two of us thought we had a team, and one of us thought we didn't, so Trek was scheduled to be with someone else at HT, leaving us short a teammate.

We both went off and asked other people if they'd be interested in teaming with us at HT--the sister-dog Beck and another blue merle, Fleet, but fortunately one didn't commit right away so I was able to back out of that one, so we think we now have a solid team there with Fleet.

But also I asked Bette's mom whether we wanted to team with Trek at NAF and BT July. Oh, she told me, maybe BT July, but Bette is teaming with Brenn (they're very good friends) for NAF. Well, if you recall from above, I thought that Tika was teaming with Brenn for NAF. So it turns out that Brenn's mom was having the same problem I was having with all these events and had promised to team with Tika and Savanna AND with Bette at NAF.

So I said, OK, how about if Savanna and Tika find someone else for NAF, then, and Boost & Bette & Brenn team for NAF, and then Boost/Bette/Trek for BT July and maybe BT regional. That was OK, so I went off and found Trek's mom and confirmed that we could team with her for NAF and for BT July. Trek's mom said, are you sure, so I went back to Bette's mom, who said yes, NAF and BT July, and I confirmed with Trek. (See, we're already confused about which 2 trials, and the conversations had been only an hour or two apart).

Then I went to Savanna's mom to tell her that oops, Brenn was already committed for NAF, but we're still OK for BT July, so we'd have to find a teammate for NAF. She happened to be standing with the handler for my other tic-tac-toe dog, who had teamed with Savanna at the December DAM, where they had qualified and then were splitting up because of these other promises. We agreed that "tac" would join us for NAF.

Then, at 11:30 Saturday night, I woke in a cold sweat, trying to remember who was teamed with whom and when, and had to get paper and pen to write it all down, and discovered that I had double-booked Boost & Bette for NAF and needed to talk to Trek's mom in the morning, which I did, and she was very nice about it.

But then Savanna's mom came by to say that she had thought we were talking about the BT regional, not BT July (and, actually, I had thought so too originally on all counts except that everyone kept saying, "you mean the July BT, not the regional, right? So then I thought I was the only confused one). In fact, she had planned that, if they qualified again at Haute TRACS, then they wouldn't need to do team again for BT July and could take a rest, especially since it would likely be very hot that weekend. But if we'd be willing to take her tentatively for BT July and reevaluate after HT, she's game, and meanwile would we be willing to commit firmly for the BT Regional? We said yes (so, OK, now I have to start thinking about Boost's team for the regional, and also who to approach as a tentative replacement for Savannah if needed for BT July).

So today I sent email to everyone on my "dance card" to confirm the teams. Turns out that the "toe" handler for "tic-tac-toe" thought that our plans were tentative, so while I've been telling everyone for 3 months about our clever team, she's been making plans to rest up her dog and not overdo it on the 4-day HT trial. And the "tac" part thought that it was tentative and never confirmed, so has her own team. I am apparently a total dork for not having confirmed this thoroughly! So, as of today, I don't have a team for Tika for HT--and pretty much everyone has already settled their teams, especially after the trial this last weekend when everyone could schmooze around. Curses!

Do you follow any of this? Neither do I. I am SO stressed trying to keep track of all of this! And, of course, now having committed to teams, if we DO qualify early-on, it would be awful for me to back out of future teams to save time and money and stress. Sighhhh.... at least additional Qs (I can only hope) will be useful for advanced titles.

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