Posted by: jility | June 6, 2012

Don’t You Know Who I Am???

The topic for this Agility Blog Action Day is “Attitude.” There are plenty of attitudes in agility; some good – some not so much. For some reason, there are people in this sport who believe their own press. They think that being able to get a dog around an agility course successfully, gives them permission to treat those they perceive as less worthy, poorly.

I have seen it over and over and over in this sport. I have to sit back and laugh really. I like to see how people treat those they see as “nobody” in the sport. It speaks volumes about that person. If the “nobody” can offer the superstar something, then they may make an effort to be nice to them. If there is nothing in it for them, then, forget it.

Then there are those who are just plain nasty to everyone except their inner circle. I am not sure what life event happened to cause these people to think they have the right to treat others poorly, but they have perfected it to an art. I experienced this recently at a trial. I will not enter another trial put on by these people. Why would I enter where I neither feel wanted nor am I treated well? There are plenty of trials to enter that are run by nice people.

A few years ago I attended a large Regional trial. There were four rings going at once with plenty of conflicts. The gate stewards had a nightmare on their hands. There were lots of folks from out of town, but most of the gate people were locals – many were novices, just there to help and learn. I was standing on the sidelines as it all unfolded.

Picture this:

Gate steward yelling over and over and over for a certain dog.  Competitor never showed, so she called for the next dog. The competitor was off to the side talking and never heard the call. When she realized they had skipped her, she went over and blasted the gate person, telling her that she was standing just outside the ring and pointed to where she had been blabbing.

“Why didn’t you come get me? I was right there!”

“Well,” the gate steward said apologetically, “I called and called, but you didn’t show so I called for the next dog.”

“I was standing right over there!” she repeated. Her voice was now getting very loud and very angry.

“DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM???” She asked incredulously.

I was dumbstruck by the arrogance.

Agility is a sport we play with our dogs. It is not going to create World Peace or stop hunger or cure cancer… It is a fun thing to do on the weekends. Sure, some make a good living doing it, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to be rude to others.

It seems that the people who are the pioneers in agility in certain areas set the tone for the rest. It only takes a couple of people to bring down the happiness level for the rest of us. There are some folks who go out of their way to complain and cause trouble for others. It brings them great pleasure. I have seen them drive more than one person from the sport.

I normally write about lighthearted things, but attitude is everything in my mind. It can make or break a region. I try to avoid those who enjoy causing trouble for others. I love competing in the San Diego area. The people are great and the trials are friendly and accommodating. I wish everyone could experience this wonderful trial atmosphere. The other place we experienced a very supportive trial atmosphere was in Virginia. They clapped and cheered for each other and appreciated a great run when they saw it.

I like to be around nice people who make me laugh. I love it when something goes wrong in a run, but the handler smiles and never blames their dog. When the run ends, they smile at their dog and their dog smiles back, never knowing anything went wrong. Now THAT is a great attitude!

The next time you trial, try an attitude experiment and watch what happens:

SMILE at the volunteers!

SMILE at the novices!

SMILE at your fellow competitors!

But most importantly,

No matter what happens,


Helen  Grinnell King


  1. Use star decorations and even one of those cheesy hanging balls that spins on
    the dance floor. It seemed to help get more accuracy, which is always good.
    There are many choices out there ranging from the traditional to the ergonomic.

  2. oh yes, been on the receiving end of that attitude, and LORDY it SUCKS. I so admire the “big” handlers who are nice to everyone, really nice. My mom always says she judges people by how they treat her, in her language “a fat old woman who isn’t running a dog now.” A lot of people don’t even acknowledge her existence when she says hi, and then there are those who always say hi and initiate contact. Such a great post! Be kind to everyone, it’s really not that hard a concept 🙂

  3. Great topic for a dog venues!

  4. Agreed! It reminds me of something a former boss used to say to me all the time “smile and you’ll feel better.” Amazingly, it does often work.

    It’s crazy how seriously we can start to take something that is supposed to be about having a good time and learning new skills. It’s too bad this kind of negative attitude can really ruin it for everyone else.

  5. Great post! You and I were on the same page in writing about “Attitude” for the agility blog action day…. Attitude, as in drop and get over yourself! The “don’t you know who I am” quote steals the show…wow.

  6. I love your post! I find it hard to admire a person’s handling/training- no matter how successful they are – if they act like an asshat! A real “superstar” treats everyone with respect regardless of perceived status in a sport!

  7. wow Helen, I think I was at that same regionals. I hope so, because if I wasn’t, the exact same think happened twice. I hate to think that, but I have a feeling its probably happened much more than that as well.

  8. The answer to “don’t you know who I am!!!!????” is “yes, you’re an idiot.”

  9. Nice one.

  10. Excellent post! I must say, though, that I’ve been fortunate to not have encountered “don’t you know who I am!!” Even the “super stars” at trials I’ve been to are human, nice to others, and not hung up on their own presence. But your final piece of advice is truly the winner. Thank you!

  11. I am smiling! Great story…sad that it was a true story. Good advice!

  12. Wow, I am happy to say I rarely see things like that happen at the trials around here. Everyone no matter who they are had to be a beginner at one time and should never look down at those who are just starting out or volunteer their time to help.

  13. LOVE IT! Great post!

  14. Oh, yes! Again, friend, you hit the nail on the head. WTG!!!! (By the way, we had a VERY friendly trail last weekend.–“no one” was there!)

  15. I have had this exact experience. I gate stewarded at a big regional many years ago & I have said I would NEVER do it again. Many of the “big names” were extremely rude.

  16. Go Helen !

    Ron King

  17. Gotta love this kind of people, great post Helen!

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