Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Team Australia

I was going to post my Australia Day tale closer to the actual day, but I was a bit intimidated by the quality of Austday posting in other blogs. I almost gave up on this story, but it's a bit boring having no camera, so I'll start using some older images and see if I can't keep myself amused until I can get a new camera.

Anyway, on Australia Day I went with my two lads, large and small, to Commonwealth Park, where there was no end of entertainment for the kiddies. The event we enjoyed the most, especially now that Bumblebee is old enough to tell real Wiggles from fake ones, was the Flyball display. Do you know what flyball is? Probably more than me. Hang on, I'll google it...

Oh! Apparently the event we saw was called Bark in the Park 2006. Cute. This is what the Australian Flyball Association say:

Flyball is a relay race between two teams of four dogs. Racing side by side, one dog from each team must go over four hurdles, trigger a flyball box pedal, catch (retrieve) a ball and then return over all four hurdles to the start/finish line where the next dog eagerly awaits.

Flyball is a team sport. Each team consists of four dogs racing in each heat, plus up to two reserves. Reserves can be interchanged after each heat. There are between three and five heats to a race, and a team has to win a majority to win the race.

It was terrific. There were all types of dogs, from yappy little things to huge hairy ones.

good start
This one started well...

scraping in
but seemed to develop an itchy bum on the way back.

One team absolutely fascinated me. They had sleek, slim, energetic BUFF dogs, raring to go and win. But each and every person in the team was overweight and puffing.
team spirit
Meet the team.

Now, I'm not fond of making fun of physical attributes, especially those belonging to women, but I have to show you this. If I were on this team, I would want to kill whoever designed their uniform. My eye was caught especially by
flyball brunhilda
Flyball Brunhilda. No idea what is in that pink bag on her front. It looked like a backwards bum bag, but it gave the impression that a large piece of her was hanging loose.

I mean to say, bicycle shorts?
brunhilda bum
It's just cruel.

buff dogs
These people must spend their time sitting with a stopwatch in their hands, egging the dogs on.

The dogs were hot to trot, or maybe just excited at the prospect of their owners moving a little!

This guy had the keenest dog. He was a smart puppy. He didn't see why he had to go over the hurdles, so he'd go around the side, and herd them a bit. This, of course, was instant disqualification. And his owner, the sharp-looking backward hat guy, got really, really mad. I thought he was going to hit the dog at one point. If he had the crowd would have jumped him and ripped him to shreds. I decided to keep walking around the park at this point.

Later on, I wandered back past in time to see a little Jack Russell scurry along, just clearing the hurdles. Very small, very keen. He ran up, hit the board, got the ball, ran back, and passed the baton to
an enormous Irish Wolf Hound. This guy loped along, barely breaking out of a mosey, stepping quietly over each hurdle, maintaining a huge amount of dignity.

He got to the backboard, stood on it for a moment, dipped his head and casually picked up the ball. Then he turned, looked at his owner, and seemed to sigh. Resigned to his fate, he started the slow, graceful lope again back to the start.

As he perambulated, someone announced over the loudspeaker that there is only one wolfhound in the world who has reached that level of flyball, and we just watched him do it.

The crowd roared in appreciation and applauded. After all, isn't that what Australia is all about? Carn the underdogs. We love a bit of pace.


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