F.L.U. - Loaders Unite
Picture this scene if you will, a large hall, a milling mass of people. At one end two groups of half a dozen, deep in animated conversation, all gesticulating with excitement, all with barking dogs straining at their leashes. At the other end two isolated figures standing behind their boxes with their balls in their hands. These two are the lepers of Flyball, the misfits, the disadvantaged - they are the box-loaders. As a loader you wait, wondering what the hell they are talking about down there and get annoyed that not one of them bothers to come down to talk to you. Even a word or two about the price of sausages at Tesco would help. You start to wonder if you have BO and it is while you are in the midst of a surreptitious olfactory exploration that they become spontaneously organised down the other end and proceed to let loose an endless stream of ballistic dogs at you.
Now, flyball boxes have developed more quickly than medieval toilets in the time of the Crusades, there are two holers and three holers about, and things can get a bit complicated especially when you look down as the first dog reaches you to discover that not one hole has a ball in it and that you have no idea exactly which dog has arrived.
After this fiasco someone does come down for a chat. Their interest is solely directed at the functional state of their precious box and they do not even inquire about your health. When you tell them what happened they simply say "Thank God for that" and give you a withering look and you know exactly what they are thinking, especially when they get back to the others who all turn and look at you for the very first time. It's not a friendly look and BO becomes the least of your problems.
What those smart alecs fail to realise is that training a dog for flyball is a doddle when it comes to remembering to put a ball in the box - all they have to do is let a dog go and then run away. A loader however has to stand unflinchingly rigid in the face of the charging dog, arms behind his back until the dog has gone. Then he has to perform a meticulously precise forward bend combined with a slick placement of the ball before snapping back to the vertical. In addition to these most demanding manoeuvres he has to shout in an inane voice in order to make the damned animals go even faster.
Incidentally I have found that the highly trained dogs of the Rabble team accelerate towards you very rapidly if the word "Stay" is yelled hysterically in their direction. Loaders live their lives balanced on the fine edge of technology, their professional skills ignored by the Stars of the flyball firmament.
It is time we united to form the " Flyball Loaders Union" we would get recognition and equal rights too, if we all had the FLU!
I would like to congratulate all who help with the production of our excellent magazine. I am sure that ours is not the only household that eagerly awaits its arrival, long may it continue to grow. May I also congratulate Corinne and Tony Warren on their full, informative and constructive Judging Reports. Whether they actually judged a show or not, their write ups are such that a full and complete picture emerges by the time you have finished reading their reports as to exactly how every team reached their final positions. Finally, I would like to thank all the kind people who offered their congratulations following our recent win at the first Hills Winter League Event held in December. Particular thanks go to our club mates The New Harlequins who shouted themselves hoarse to bring us home in front. A special ta to Allen Dunning (a wasp) who has been keeping a eye on us of late and advising on changeovers. Grateful thanks once again to all concerned and "Happy Flyballing" to all enthusiasts for 1995.
(The Editorial Team will forever humble themselves in your presence Liz ["see you down there Allen"] - Ed)
What will Flyball Freaks that do it the BFA/NAFA way make of the new KC Regulations for Flyball? Judging by the comments received to date - Not a lot!
Whatever the "spectator" sport described therein really is it certainly "ain't Flyball" as we know it. Any flyballer who has read the revised KC Regulation H (1 Jan 95) will know instinctively that the mandatory box detailed is not the right equipment for our "speed" dogs - nor is it remotely designed for small or large dogs. When will they learn that boxes that throw the ball right up into the air like this one are mimicking what we as responsible dog owners, have been told by the experts, never to do when playing ball with our pets. However, it s not just the box, closer examination reveals little gems such as fixed height hurdles of 12". Great for rushed people setting up the equipment at Crufts but completely discriminatory against our valued small dogs that regularly compete with and against their larger relatives.
At the end of the day true Flyball Freaks will continue to play the BFA/NAFA way. This has speed with safety and has evolved over the past 20 years into the most exciting dog sport know to man - namely "International Flyball Racing", we'll leave KC Flyball to the "Come on you slow dogs"! and the "Crufties"!!
Mrs Val Poingdestre from Trinity in Jersey and her xCollie Jason.
Miss Valerie Pinnington of Par in Cornwall and Evie a 3 year old xLabrador
Thanks to Sue Ethier firstname.lastname@example.org, of Rude Dogs fame, the Flyball Record is now a truly International Magazine. Sue is currently reproducing The Flyball Record and distributing it to our friends in NAFA. It is hoped that our NAFA friends will start contributing to the magazine to make it a truly International read. Our NAFA friends may submit articles for the Flyball Record to Sue or to Nigel at the EMail address given at the bottom of the page.
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