The disc dog competition over Labor Day weekend in Naperville, IL is never one to miss. This year they stepped it up to yet another level. Besides the always tough UFO Major on Saturday, Sunday was the one shot, winner take all AWI World Championships. Many discdoggers from the beginnings such as Ron Ellis, Mr. E, and Alex Stein (the owner of Ashley Whippet himself), along with many other greats of the sport were in attendance to tell stories from back in the day. Lori, the daughter of the co-founder of Wham-O (the company that invented the Frisbee) was even there to join in the festivities.
Heading into the weekend, Wallace and I were not clicking. I was trying to add some new stuff to our routine like I tend to do, but Wallace and I were not in sync. I began second guessing if Wallace and I still "had it." Wondering if I was doing something different to make things not work. Wondering if Wallace's previous injuries were catching up with him, and therefore wondering what I can realistically expect out of my canine teammate.
Saturday I entered us in freestyle only to take the field and feel things out for Sunday's AWI. That night, Josh Grenell gave me some advice that made everything come together. Sunday morning I was asked to kick things off by singing the National Anthem. I was honored and of course obliged, complete with Wallace laying at my side through the entire song. When it was our turn to take the field for round 1, it felt "right" again. We fell back in sync and were back to our old ways. That right there was worth the trip for me regardless of what the outcome would end up to be. With things clicking again, we rocked our first round and also had a good Toss and Catch round to put us in 3rd place going into the final freestyle round. Only a few tenths of a point separated 1st - 3rd, and with freestyle being our forte, we had first place in our sights.
2nd round I tend to lay it all out there, but unfortunately I am far from perfect. As a result, we sometimes fumble for not playing it safe. Unfortunately that was the case this time as I stumbled enough to lose sight of the AWI Championship and getting Wallace's name on the Lander Cup. However 2nd place in the biggest field of competitors we've competed against isn't too shabby for the broken down Pit Bull. If I had to do it all over again, I would do the same thing in a heart beat.
While the awards are nice, Wallace and I have always been out there to represent something more. We are out there to make a positive impact for a very misunderstood group of dogs. The minds that are changed as a result of watching us play are the true victories to me. Lori, who I mentioned before and who's father is responsible for the wide spread popularity of the Frisbee, told me afterwords that she was not sure about Pit Bulls and afraid of them. After watching us that weekend, her outlook was totally changed and was loving on Wallace that night outside the restaurant. How cool is that?! Another couple, unsure of Pit Bulls, was passing by and saw us during our Toss and Catch round. They followed us back to our tents to meet Wallace and asked to pet him! Gotta love it.... Wallace was definitely living up to his slogan that weekend - Changing Minds One Disc at a Time! And that is what it's all about!
Big congrats to all the competitors, especially Todd Murnan and Bella who took it home, and Danny Eggleston and Guinan in 3rd. It was an honor to be up on the podium with such great teams. Special thanks to Zeus and Co and Orijen Dog Foods for fueling my canine teammate! Also, thanks to Hero Disc USA, Total Performance, and The Good Dog Company for their support of the event. Big thanks to all the volunteers, judges and competitors for making the weekend such a memorable one. You all RAWK! Hopefully once things settle down a bit, I'll get my highlight video put together so you can see some Wallace action from that weekend.