(Photo Credit: Mike Lifer)
On Last Week’s Episode…
Thank you to everyone who responded to my 2 questions last week: (1) is it called soccer or football, and (2) what’s your favorite pie? As promised, here are the results:
66% of responders call the sport “soccer” while 17% say it’s “football” and 17% say either one is okay with them. For reference, about 70% of our readers live in North America. Seriously though, Sarah found this article written by a Duolingo scientist in linguistics and the short version is that we can all blame the British for the word “soccer.” Here’s the article.
For pies, pumpkin is the near unanimous winner with key lime and cherry in a distant tie for second place. No one for apple pie? Ah, Ryan Reynolds will save us!
Cynosport Results: Is USDAA in Decline?
The Cynosport Dog Agility World Games took place in Scottsdale Arizona from November 30 to December 4, 2022. You can find all of the results from Cynosport HERE.
I once asked Jennifer Crank if she thought USDAA was in decline. She simply replied, “Yes.”
I think it really hurt USDAA to have Cynosport conflict with the AKC European Open Team Tryout, as many top handlers opted for EOTT.
I confess that I haven’t been to Cynosport in well over a decade. Years ago, AKC provided more shows local to us (in the Houston, Texas area) and we enjoyed their national events more, especially given that we did not run border collies. To my eye, USDAA appears to be in decline, and even with the recent jump height changes, the number of local trials in my area and entries at Cynosport have been trending down over the past several years. If you’re an active USDAA competitor, I’d love to hear your thoughts on which direction USDAA is headed.
AKC European Open Team Tryouts (EOTT)
You can find some results from EOTT HERE. Bad Dog Agility Sponsored Athletes Sarah Baker and Jada Sawhney were both there, with Jada nabbing a second place finish in round 1 with Border Collie Smudge. Dr. Leslie Eide, who runs the Bad Dog Agility Canine Fitness program for our VIP members, claimed 5th place in round 3 with Border Collie Finnick. Jessica Ajoux, who runs UnitedDog and creates bonus training videos for our VIP members, won an automatic spot on the team with her Border Collie Hallelujah (winning rounds 1 and 4) and also competed with her Border Collie Empowered.
Jennifer Crank won an automatic spot onto the European Open team, capturing the blue ribbon with this round 3 performance (video below):
Speaking of automatic spots, dog agility is a sport where the results are determined by time (and faults), not someone’s passing opinion or even someone else’s carefully reasoned analysis (even if it’s my own). It’s time that all of our international teams are determined purely by the clock, and not by coach/manager/committee. The algorithm used for selection can be adjusted from year to year and emphasize speed over consistency or vice versa. The real value from a purely automated selection process comes from knowing the results immediately (which allows competitors to schedule appropriately) and from eliminating human bias. Bias takes many forms, and most of them are subconscious, meaning the human making the choices is unaware that they exist and influence their choices. Bias exists on a fast track to discrimination and nepotism and gives the organizations, coaches, managers, etc. too much power.
In recent years, I had hoped that the EOTT might pave the way and select the first international team based entirely on a predetermined algorithm, rather than the necessarily biased evaluations of coaches. That several other countries are more fair in their team selection process than the United States is not new or shocking, but extremely disappointing. I might accept biased selections if our international teams dominated at the big events, but since we aren’t often getting close to the podium anyways (shout out to exceptions Angie Benaquisto and Sundae, among others), let’s at least be impartial and efficient in our selection process.
We also have new international jump heights this year, which effectively provides another height class for smaller border collies but may also improve breed diversity at local trials. I’m eager to see how this plays out at the big events this year. In general, I would expect that the “Intermediate” height dogs will be a little faster than the “Large” height dogs, but since each class ran different courses for each round, it’s impossible to compare speeds.
Before we get to Christmas, the American Kennel Club will host the Invitational on December 17-18 in Orlando, Florida. This event has traditionally been one of my favorites because of the incredible breed diversity on display. The Invitational will be preceded by the Junior event on Friday, December 16, at the same venue. Height class winners from the Junior event will advance to the regular Invitational, where they will have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the finals. Competitors typically need a clean run in all four rounds to advance to the finals.
The top 5 dogs in each breed qualify to attend the event, and Jennifer Crank will be competing there with Bee, her Sheltie. Jada Sawhney will run in the junior event on Friday with Golden Retriever Tallee and Border Collies Zula and Smudge.
Holiday Movies: Thumbs Up 👍 and Thumbs Down 👎
We haven’t started the Disney+ series The Santa Clauses but we will be checking it out as soon as the kids are done with school and we can binge watch it. In the meantime, here are two movies we enjoyed and two movies we turned off after 15 minutes:
“Spirited” with Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. We watched this fun film with the kids, and only after we rewatched “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” which our 12 year old Hannah had never seen. With “Deadpool”, “Free Guy”, and now “Spirited” in his pocket, I have officially forgiven Ryan Reynolds for “Green Lantern”.
“The Truth About Christmas” with Kali Hawk. Super cute version of “Liar Liar” that we enjoyed.
“Falling for Christmas” with Lindsay Lohan. I’ll admit we were not otherwise familiar with the cast and even the reference to the talent show act from “Mean Girls” was not enough for us to finish this movie.
“Father Christmas is Back” with Kelsey Grammar and Elizabeth Hurley. I really wanted to like this movie because of Liz and Kelsey but it just didn’t work out and we called it about 15 minutes in.
Email me at email@example.com with your thoughts on USDAA and/or the AKC selection process for international teams. And if you have a holiday movie recommendation, please let me know!