Saturday, 1 October 2016

Agility a sport for all?

A bit late with a blog after coming back from the FCI AWC in Spain last weekend.

Travelling back with Agility Team GB on the coach meant we didn't get home until late on Tuesday evening.

I had rearranged some lessons from Tuesday to Wednesday which followed by my usual Wag & Tone class meant I postponed catching up with unpacking until Thursday.

Thursday evening Mark had an awards evening to attend in relation to an award he had been put forward for in his day job. It was black tie and an overnight stay in Birmingham. He works for an Energy company and this was recognition for his driving project from an external body. There were quite a few nominations so we may have attended just to have a 'posh' evening with lovely food etc. Most of my readers will know Mark from agility and know about his commitment to GB and passion for our sport. He also enjoys his work and puts as much into delivering his projects. It was brilliant to see that external companies recognised this. The award was to him and ADT the company that worked with him to set up and maintain the data required. 


However great this was it had put a delay on recovering from our exciting week away.

No lie in the next day either as work to do. We also had the first step in a new adventure which I will blog about another time.

Back to the title of my blog. I am lucky to be involved in all levels of agility. On one hand I get to watch Agility Team GB and then at home I get to train some people new to the sport. There I go using that term sport again.

Looking the word sport up on the internet - "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment."

Physical exertion - yes
Skill - yes
Individual or team - yes
Competes - yes
Entertainment - yes

The entertainment part does not mention if this is the people taking part or other people.

In many sports there are as many people (or maybe sometimes more) that enjoy going to watch their team play in their chosen sport. Football is a perfect answer.

Certainly at the Príncipe Felipe Pavilion in Zaragoza this year the atmosphere illustrated that the european agility followers find watching a big part of their agility experience. The French especially always have a huge following.

Agility Team GB have some loyal followers that come every year and many that watch life streaming but no where near as many as other countries.

I am relatively confident that it is no more expensive for people that come from Norway for example than for followers to come from the UK. 

What ever the reason for not coming I am confident in saying that there is nothing like watching the people at the top of their game from all over the World get together to compete at this professionally run event. 

One ring dedicated to agility, all heights treated equally and even organised dancing in the breaks to give those glued to their seats a chance to burn some calories. 

It is an emotional roller coaster at times 

and a chance to wave your flag. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being patriotic with a great team of people to support.

The other beauty of agility in the UK is that most of Agility Team GB are known to us personally. We know the training and dedication they have put in and have even watched them be successful around the circuit. There are not many football supporters that will have played Sunday league with the people they are cheering on.

There are many changes and challenges for agility to come and for many it is seen as a hobby and not a sport.

Looking up hobby on the internet "an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure".

A few differences to consider - physical exertion, skill, competes and entertainment are not mentioned. Not to say hobbies don't include that just that it is not within the definition as being important.

Agility as a hobby is a brilliant way to spend time with our dogs and our friends. 

For me - I have customers that agility will be a hobby for and they will enjoy as much as the ones for whom agility will be a sport. I have no problem with it being both or either. I do wonder if there would be a benefit from having divisions instead of all competing for the same prize after all Sunday afternoon footballers would not expect to compete in Division 1. That is another totally unanswerable blog probably even if written would not see daylight.

For now I applaud Agility Team GB sports men and women and dogs. They are professional, skilful and athletic and certainly entertaining to watch.

Role on the next squad day just before Olympia to start another journey towards the European Open and the FCI AWC for next year.

The word on the street is that more spectators are hoped for next year and maybe somebody organising a travel package for spectators so keep an eye open and a few days holiday aside for next years excitement.

There is usually time for a bit of sightseeing too.

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