On Being a Champion

Friday, February 27, 2009

When I was 18 years old I went to work on a dairy farm. Now I was born and raised in a city of 300,000 people. I had no idea what to expect or what cows were all about. I applied to over 50 jobs that summer, most of them in a government program for finding students work. The only one that offered me a job was the Junior Agriculturist Program. I was a Jr Ag. The farmer I was sent to work for (Morely) and his wife (Thelma) used to poke fun at me because I dragged my heels and walked with my head down all the time. Then, after being at the farm for 6 days we had a Sunday afternoon off. Morely got out a baseball bat and some balls  and two of his kids, a couple of the hired hands and I went to the field where Morely hit out fly balls to us. I rarely missed one. I was bowling people over, sprinting half way across the farm and skidding through cow paddies in order to get to a ball before it hit the ground. When it was all over Morely said to me. “You  need to find a job that you can turn into a game for yourself and then you will be great at it!”  It was such an innocent comment. One that you would make to someone just in passing, half mocking them and then never give it a second thought. However I have never forgotten it. I returned to that farm to milk cows for many summers after that, and yes I became great at it. I still remember that Sunday afternoon like it was yesterday and not all of those 11 years ago. . . okay you can stop laughing now.  

I once read this quote “Champions in any field make a habit of doing things others find boring or uncomfortable.” I thought to myself, I really like the quote but it isn’t me. I would lose interest in things that were boring or uncomfortable, just like anyone else I would imagine. So how have I have managed to do alot of winning, even before I ever started in dog agility.  I was on championship hockey and basketball teams starting when I was a kid. I won events in horse Dressage and did an incredible amount of winning in flyball and obedience prior to coming to agility. Here is how I changed the quote to better describe my thoughts on becoming a champion  “Champions in any field make a habit of taking things that other people find boring or uncomfortable and turning them into a game for themselves.”  It is all about the game for me, always has been, always will be.  

 I still drive up to that farm to visit from time to time, and I am still very grateful for all of the varied experiences that I enjoyed there (I have more cow stories then you can imagine!)


  1. we want more cow stories :o)

  2. I’m with Amanda! I work with the U of G dairy herd and I’d love to hear how working with the cows helped to make you the great trainer you are today. 🙂

  3. You do make reading a pleasure! I’m looking forward to the tips. Especially walking the course. If I had 3 wishes one would be that videos of courses could be viewed from above -(maybe this should go in the “technological advances we’d like to see” category ).

  4. I was just reading the copyright blurb at the bottom of the page. Is it OK to get a printout of your blogs to keep in my training book? I’m planning ahead for the tips that are coming. Thanks for the effort you put into your websites, greatly apppreciated.

    • Hi Denise, you are welcome to print these out for your own training purposes, but just as a reminder the “training tips” will not be posted here on the blog —you MUST be signed up to my newsletter to get the tips!

  5. you are a fine storyteller.

  6. *want/NEED* training tips. thanks!!

  7. When I started to read that post I Thought It was about How to train a dog to became a winner dog. But when a fineshed I realised that was about What do I have to do to became a champion doning whatever I want!
    I’m glad to read that! Thanks!

  8. Your website is great. Is this the work that you have turned into a game? It would be great if it was. I need to start looking at my own work in that regard so it will be more fun.- Nate

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