You know what’s awesome? When something crazy and unbelievable happens, something that was so unlikely, you didn’t dare dream about it. Well that is exactly what happened this past weekend in Charlottetown.
3 months ago, if you had asked anyone on PFT if we thought we would we walking away Regional Champions for the 2012-2013 racing season, you would have most likely been laughed at. We thought it was impossible. We were so far back in the standings that we basically needed to win first each day of each remaining tournament – 5, if you are counting that is 9 out of 10 days. As I said – impossible…but then something special happened. At our home tournament in June, we won both days. At the FNF tournament in June, we won both days. At our home tournament in August, we won both days and at FAME’s tournament in September, we...won...both…days! So something that only a couple of months ago seemed impossible, was for the first time staring us in the face. Could it be possible? After FNF holding the title of Regional Champions for 13 years, could it really be that we are only one 1st place finish
away from winning it? But let me go back for a moment, I am getting ahead of myself :)
Coming in to 2013, Regional Championships were the furthest thing from our minds. We dubbed this our “rebuilding year”. We had a ton of new dogs coming up and we knew that our line-ups were going to be changing a lot. So it was not our goal to become Regional Champions, instead we focussed on our new dogs, getting them experience and running the fastest we possible could, for many of us, that meant we wanted to be the first team in Region 10 to break into the 15’s. I’ll be honest, not everyone thought it would be possible at first, but then each week dogs continued to run new personal best’s, our A teams continued to see amazing end times flash up, green dogs started to show more confidence and we all started to BELIEVE it was possible.
As always, this racing year was filled with great highs and of course some lows. But all of those moments lead to the last tournament of the racing season. We had already broken the Regional Record 4 times, with the last one standing at 16.052. We were on an 8 tournament day winning streak and going into Charlottetown this past weekend, we knew two things. Number one: our goal was to break into the 15’s, that is what we had been working towards and we knew that the combination of Flight, Callie, Brooke & Feist could do it; they had done it a number of times in practice. Number two: amazingly we were one 1st place finish away from winning the Regional Championships. After defeating all the odds against us (and there were many!), it would be silly not to try for it. So we went in with this game plan: break into the 15’s and then play it safe and try to win 1st place.
The last practice before the tournament when we were talking about the game plan for the weekend, we all looked around and realized something. If we were to win the Regional Championships, it would involve so many members and a lot of dogs. It included anyone who had raced on Aviators or Pilot Project this year, and anyone who box loaded for either team – which was everyone on the team and 9 dogs – that is what you call a team effort! So yeah, I’m not
going to lie, we wanted it! :)
Saturday started off the way no one would have expected. Our friend / teammate / biggest supporter who moved away last December to Wisconsin surprised us all and flew to Charlottetown to spend the weekend with us! We were completely shocked and over the moon when Lori walked in! As if we did not want it bad enough before, now we really felt the need to achieve our goals!
Saturday started off perfect. 1st race of the day – 15.98! We reached our 2013 goal with room and a .10 start! We
were elated! After seeing 15’s flash up in practice so much over the last few months it was so nice to finally see it on the lanes when it mattered the most. There can only be one first – and for the first time in Region 10 history that first was accomplished by Prepare for Takeoff!
But we were not finished; we knew we still needed one 1st place finish to be Regional Champs. Unfortunately that
was not meant to be on Saturday. We lost two races because of some bad luck and we knew it was over. That night, after Dave fulfilled his bet of jumping in the pool (he said on Friday night if we broke into the 15's he would jump into the pool at the hotel), we decided as a team to go with a safe bet and we switched Brooke & Spray. It would mean that both teams would have to adjust, but we knew it was the right decision.
Sunday it was do or die. Both teams started out great, the kinks were worked out of the new line-ups pretty quickly. Pilot Project picked up a couple of huge wins that were very helpful to our Aviators team. Aviators beat FNF Airwaves in our 2nd to last race and that meant it would come down to the last race of the day. FAME had one loss, and we were undefeated, but if we loss to them we would be tied for points and the first tie breaker was head to head results – so we knew that we had to win or we would not be Regional Champs.
It was an incredible feeling to be out on the lanes knowing that the very last race, of the last tournament of the season was going to determine the Regional Championship. I looked at everyone and said, “This is it, let’s do it”! Then I remember looking at Stef and we both took a deep breath at the exact same time. With our teammates and to my surprise and delight many non-teammates cheering us on, Flight took off, the first heat went pretty smooth and we were up 1-0. The second heat there was a flag on FAME so I held back with Feist, but the little bugger dropped her ball! I sent her for a re-run which we would have had, but she dropped again – loss, 1-1. The next heat again went smooth and we were up 2-1. We knew this was it and I could just feel it in my bones, all we needed to do was run clean, we had them on time. Running anchor can either be a curse or privilege, during that last heat it was a privilege, I could see that FAME had at least two flags, so I kept it nice and wide for Feist’s last pass, as I ran back I could see everyone start celebrating and I knew we had it! Against insurmountable odds, we had come back and won the Regional Championship, broke the Regional Record and broke into the 15’s for the first time ever in our Region – all in one weekend! All that was left to do was celebrate with hugs, high fives and a few tears. :)
Some people talk about come backs and underdogs, I have to say that I think this is one of the biggest comeback stories I have ever heard of, let alone been involved in.
Believe it or not, this is not the end of the story. I would also like to congratulate the dogs who earned new titles this weekend: Ketchup (Amanda): FD & FDX. They say that the first flyball title is the hardest and boy does Amanda know that! This title was a long time coming and we are so very proud of Amanda & Ketchup! Maya (Dave): FDCh-G; Feist (Me!): FM & the big one of the weekend: Spray (Sam): ONYX. Our other 2 teams faired well this weekend. Red Eye took 2nd both days and racked up a ton of points and Aerodynamic had a lot of close racing as well. Our up and coming dogs did excellent! Adie did amazing warm-ups on Red Eye and Thrill rocked green dogs!
I would be remiss if I did not mention how incredible it is that FNF has held this Championship for 13 years and that this year it came down to the tiebreaker of best overall times to decide the winner. I would also like to congratulate Diana & Static. Static retired this year after a 10.5 year flyball career and earned her 60,000 point title this weekend. Also, congratulations to FAME, on breaking their club PB with a 16.24 run.
Every once and a while something special happens. And sometimes it is a combination of little things that in that particular moment in time do not seem special, but put them all together and that is exactly what they become: Sam deciding to get a farm border collie (Spray), Dave Matheson deciding to come and try out flyball at a PFT seminar (Callie), Daniel & I breeding a crazy little freak Toller that we affectionately call Brooke; Noelle deciding to bring Carlie to a PFT seminar, Stef deciding to get her first border/whippet (Flight), Amanda getting her first border/jack (Slice), Daniel & I deciding it was finally time to add the border/staffy I had been wanting for a few years to our family (Feist) and Andrea asking to join PFT (Zedd). Without all of these things happening we would not have two A teams and we would not be the 2012-2013 Regional Champions.
On behalf of the entire team I would like to thank everyone who came out and offered their congratulations, hugs and high fives. To everyone who has always believed in us – thank you. To everyone who knows the amount of work, blood, sweat and tears that got us to where we are – thank you. Just this weekend Lori and I were talking about when we first broke into the 18’s, then the 17’s, then the 16’s. I am overjoyed that she was there to see us break into the 15’s, her surprising us really gave us a lift that we needed.
So what’s next? Some members will be travelling to Boothbay, ME in early November and of course we will be at Truro in November as well. The start of the new NAFA year! We can’t wait!
Until next time,