a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Part 3 of Packing for an Agility Weekend, Then and Now

Friday, July 16, 2010

Part 3 of Packing for an Agility Weekend, Then and Now

SUMMARY: Third in a series comparing my 1996 gear to my 2010 gear, and transitions between.

[Previous parts: Part 1, transportation and others.; Part 2, shade, crate covers, mat.]

(I see at least one more part after this, maybe 2. But today, the most important part, because remember, it's all about the clothing!

  • Then--I had perfectly lovely cross-trainers...you know, "tennis shoes." Can't remember for sure, now, but I think I'd already started competing (1996) before I realized how slippery grass could be. I "borrowed" my then-spouse's old soccer cleats, because he wasn't using them anyway, and they sort of fit.

    The first time I attended Power Paws Camp--early 2000s--Clean Run had a booth to which they hauled all kinds of goodies, including large stocks of shoes for agility people. I tried a bunch on, found a pair of gray Dita cleats that fit nicely (although, like I did at everything else's price, I gasped at the price for *dog* event shoes), bought them, and wore them happily for a couple or three years. But the leather had started cracking, pieces were coming loose, the cleats were wearing down.

    So at USDAA Nationals, maybe 2004 or 2005, Clean Run was again there with a huge store. There was a new manufacturer of shoes specifically for agility, I think Agile Gear? (No, maybe not, Agile or Agility something.) The shoes fit me like a charm, better than the Ditas! I delightedly shelled out the huge money for them. They lasted me exactly 3 months before they started literally falling to pieces. Great concept, huh!
  • Now--The next year, I bought a pair of the same Ditas I'd had before, and I'm still wearing them. A bit worn around the edges, that's for sure. (And oh, BTW, I still have the OLD pair of Ditas in the garage "just in case"--guess I should check and see which pair is really more worn out now!)

    Oh--huh--I see that Dita now has an entire category of dog agility shoes! How cool is that?

Waterproof footwear:
  • Then--Ew! Ew! Walking around on the dewy grass early in the morning, shoes and socks and feet got sopping wet! Ew! My then-spouse gifted me with my own pair of rubber Wellies (generic). I could slip my feet in and out pretty easily. Great idea. Used them for two or three years, then carried them around in the car just in case for a couple more years, then they mouldered in the back yard until last winter, when I really needed them for some urgent repair work in the yard in the rain, but they were kaput.
  • Now--Pfui, what's a little moisture on one's toes?

  • Then--
    • Phase 1: Whatever T-shirts I had. Nuthin' with dogs on them.
    • Phase 2: Bay Team t-shirts.
    • Phase 3: My first USDAA Nationals, in San Diego, 2000--OMG, in the vendor area I was like a kid in FAO Schwartz! I had never seen so much dog-related gear--and clothing! Had to buy a couple of dog-agility-related t-shirts so that I'd have some! 
    • Phase 4: Got my first USDAA polo shirts at the 2000 and 2001 Nationals. I think that's what we got just for showing up, rather than t-shirts.
    • Phase 5: USDAA put in its Nationals premium (I think 2004) that it preferred exhibitors to wear polo shirts--tucked in. I bought a tie-dye polo shirt to show my contempt for upper-crust dress codes. And our team shirts were polo shirts. So were our team shirts for the next 4 years.
  • Now--Mostly polo shirts (I think my neck likes to breathe). Tucked in to absorb the sweat better. (Well, you asked.) Usually dog-related. Or one of my other dozens of dog-related shirts.

    Almost never wear non-dog-related shirts to agility events any more.

Bras (yah, gotta mention it, this is crucial agility clothing for some of us competitors!):

  • Then--Whatever sorts of lightweight yet feminine support garments I owned.
  • Now--Sports bras, definitely. The kind you could pull your shirt off over your head and wave it to your fans and you'd still be be more modestly (yet still colorfully) dressed than in a typical bathing suit. I have black, white, gray, purple, teal, blue, light blue, navy, and blue/purple tie dye.
  • Then--I don't really like wearing hats. Never have. (Although they intrigue me, and I have a hat collection.)  But with the sun beating down on you and getting in your eyes, gotta do SOMEthin'.  Around the time I started agility, a vendor at an art & wine festival had these cool visored scarves, basically. So you tied the scarf on your head with the visor over your eyes. I likeed that because it wasn't so hat-like and I could adjust the tightness very easily. Bonus: I could use it as a dog tug toy in an emergency.  Liked my first one so much that I later bought a 2nd one. Then--probably because basically I don't like hats-- I gradually stopped using them. (They're still in my dog gear bag, though.)

    Mostly avoided hats for a few years. Had a couple of baseball caps that I used sometimes. But my head likes to be free, even though it knows that it's not a good idea from a skin cancer perspective.
  • Now--Maybe 3 years ago, I bought this great "Wag more, bark less" baseball cap at Doggone Good, which I really liked, and it motivated me to start wearing it all the time.

    THEN a year or two later, my sister the Disneyland superfan (to my mere fan-ness) gave me an awesome Pluto Unleashed baseball cap, which has now become my full-time baseball agility cap. I love the expression on Pluto's face, sly and ready to go. (Sometimes Wag More Bark Less makes a token appearance. It's good to have 2 hats I like.)

  • Then--Levi's jeans.
  • Now--Levi's jeans. (Nice to know that SOME things stay the same!)

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