Saturday, October 3, 2015

Surprisingly I agree with AKC.  Honestly, I don't really like a lot of what AKC stands for; but on this topic, they are doing the right thing.

The issue is participation in their organization vs. suspension (or ban) for a person convicted of animal neglect and abuse.

There is such a person presently known to some in the flyball commnunity, convicted in her community for animal abuse and neglect which resulted in her dog's cruel and inhumane death.  The person's name is public knowledge; it is Carla Thomas, also known as Carla Parravani. 

The AKC suspended Ms. Thomas, aka Ms. Parravani, in a public newsletter in 2013 (source:

Her 15-year suspension was accompanied by a $3,000 fine according to the newsletter.  Quote:  "...from all AKC privileges for fifteen years and imposed a $3000 fine, for conduct prejudicial to purebred dogs, purebred dog events, or to the best interests of the American Kennel Club...Inappropriate Treatment Policy...". 

In addition to her AKC affiliation Ms. Thomas, aka Ms. Parravani, is also involved in dog sports such as flyball.  The AKC is loosely affiliated with NAFA flyball because the AKC now recognizes and publishes NAFA flyball titles for it's AKC members.  

Here is the follow-up to my last blog post with the outcome of my inquiries with the AKC, NAFA and U-FLI in regard to Ms. Thomas, aka Ms. Parravani, current and future participation in each organization as it relates to the sport of flyball.

AKC flyball titles:

"The AKC will not issue an AKC title to an individual suspended from the AKC if a title application were received."

NAFA flyball participation:

"As an independent organization NAFA reserves the right to determine the type and length of any disciplinary action in regards to competing in our sport.  I feel that the length of Carla's suspension was appropriate for her actions and the BoD agreed.  You are free to generate your own personal opinion however this will be my final conversation regarding this matter."

U-FLI participation:

"....It was a sticky, controversial situation that U-FLI became involved with regarding Carla's alleged abuse/neglect..."

The AKC suspension is still in effect and will be until approximately 2028.  In NAFA, the suspension is lifted.  In U-FLI, the suspension is lifted.  I wish NAFA and U-FLI would follow AKC's example.  The integrity of the flyball community deserves no less.

I Like Flyball 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Here is an old post brought back into focus and updated due to current circumstances in the flyball community.  May you, the reader, find your truth along the way and thank you for reading this blog.  

In truth,
I Like Flyball

UPDATE - 2015

After the following new post to one of the flyball community lists, I asked and received confirmation the person looking for help with her dog's medical bills is the same person in my 2013 blog post (see link at bottom).  Me, personally, I am not certain whether or not adults are capable of changing their behavior.  From the beginning of this incident there were, in my opinion, cover-ups and outright lies surrounding this person's conviction and subsequent actions taken by both flyball organizations.  Even so far as the person's dogs prior to the incident being 'owned' by her then immediately after the story broke to the flyball public, some of these same dogs appeared under a different owner's name (it appeared to be under the spouse's name at that point).  Me, personally, I do not trust people who repeatedly obscure the truth and tell outright lies.

At the present time, there is a request for 'medical bill' help for this same person's one dog.  I'm fairly sure based on the description of the dog's health issue it is most likely not the fault of the dog owner.  However, what bothers me is the flyball organizations' continued involvement with the dog owner all along, from the very beginning of the issue, through the conviction of animal abuse, to allowing the dog owner name change which made it possible for this person's other dogs to still compete in flyball and earn titles and to this day soliciting other flyballer's help for someone who was convicted.  

Do people change?  Perhaps.  Did this person change?  I have no honest idea.  I do not trust the person based on previous reports and subsequent analysis.  And, I do not support flyball organizations continuing to solicit to the flyball community on behalf of this person.  

That is my truth and I simply want to share it with those who may have never heard of the original issue.  

I Like Flyball

here's the current post August 2015:

From: "'Chris Sells' via U-FLI Flyball" <>
To: "U-FLI List" <>
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2015 7:26:32 AM
Subject: [U-FLI Flyball List] Zoom's Medical Bills - Go Fund Me

Many of you have met Carla at Championship's and her dog Zoom, they need your help.
[click here to support Zoom's Medical bills, link disabled when posted here]
(end quote)

Here's the original post from 2013:

*edited 8/16 to remove association with a specific flyball organization due to confirmation from the organization the person's post for solicitation is not affiliated in any way with the flyball organization and the organization does not support the solicitation 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Truth In Flyball Never Dies

I started this blog because I believed the truth in flyball was needed, was missing (at the time), and perhaps would help flyballers and the sport.

Now, two and half years later, I wonder did this blog or the truth help in any way?  On a personal level, I know it has helped me and the flyballers closest to me.  On an organizational level, e.g., NAFA and U-FLI, I think it has helped some folks sort out a few things but has yet to help either organization on a long-term or permanent level.  On a group or team level, a tiny bit of progress has been noticeable.

This leads me to confirmation that some people thrive on the truth and some people prefer to ignore and hide (from) the truth either out of fear or some other negative motivator.  It also confirms for me the truth in flyball never dies.

Here are a few examples:

1) Growth of flyball...NAFA used to publish a Growth Chart on the corporate information page of their's been missing for at least a year now (maybe 2 years).  Here's the last chart I'm aware of:

Since they've removed the chart, it makes me wonder why and what do they not want to show other flyballers.  I've heard there has been a pretty big decline in participation over the past several years but I have not personally been able to look at any stats since the chart is no longer published.  

U-FLI stats have never been available to flyballers as far as I know. 

From a personal standpoint, I have no clue whether either organization is ignoring or hiding the truth, but perhaps it really doesn't matter.  I am now going to be just one of 'those flyballers who only wants to play with her dogs and only cares whether there are working lights'.  Nah, I'm just kidding.  

The truth is, for many years, I had been caught up in other flyballer's interests.  I knew it had happened, but I went along with it.  Some of it was simply thrust on my shoulders without my really wanting it.  But, I like helping people fulfill their dreams and along the way there were some successes, and I had some really fun times.  

Now, however, I just want to play with my dogs.  And, my friends.  And, I still care what happens to the sport and the truth in flyball.

2) Stories about flyball beginnings... one of my former teams is having an exciting anniversary, 10 years!  Whoo-hoo!  I love that it's still going.  And, I love that they are promoting and sharing the history of how flyball got started in their Region. 

What I've noticed, however, is things being omitted in the stories.  The stories are so far, in my perspective, an incomplete version of history.  Perhaps new truths will be told and perhaps some people will choose to tell the complete history.  I believe the whole truth is a good thing and I have hope the full story will be told.

3) Team splits caused by mean people damage the sport of flyball...another team I know recently went through a split-up caused by people being unkind, purposefully hurtful and mistreating their teammates.  What I noticed is the events were told in two completely different versions.  And, some people refused to listen to others.  Therefore, some were able to deny the truth until it was too late.  Almost one year later, a few of them listened and then were able to admit and acknowledge the truth.  Despite knowing the truth, In their viewpoint, it no longer mattered and could still be ignored.  To the other people, severe damage had been done; perhaps damage that may be permanent.  

These three examples are somewhat disheartening, I think, because it is a repetitive pattern in flyball everywhere.  What gives me peace, however, is knowledge (that) the truth is always out there waiting and it will continue to be told by those who know it and it will continue to be heard by those who listen.

I continue to believe the truth lives forever and truly sets one free.

Let all you do be done in love.
[1Corin 4:16]


I Like Flyball!

Flyball Can Be Fun! blog powered by K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie) 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Follow The Dogs

You've heard the quote 'follow the money', right?      

I was reminded of this concept again recently when I came across another flyball announcement posted from someone else regarding their acquisition of a puppy for the specific purpose of playing flyball.  The puppy was said to be from a flyball lineage; both male and female parents were great flyball dogs.  From the announcement, it appeared the breeding was purposeful and strictly for flyball.  Also, it appeared there was great pride associated with both the breeding and the acquisition of the puppy.

Dog breeding has always struck me oddly compared to how some of my dog friends feel about it.  I try very hard not to judge those who choose to purposefully breed and sell or give away the puppies from the breeding.  It's tough for me and I readily admit that.

My dog acquisitions have all been rescue dogs.  Shelter dogs, rescue group dogs, fostered dogs looking for a new home.  I have never thought about nor desired to get a dog from a breeder nor to subsequently breed any of my dogs...never.  To me, there are way too many dogs who need homes out there and I could never purposefully contribute to any more of them.

Those are my thoughts and I believe most folks who also rescue may have some if not all of the same thoughts.

I have no idea how or what a dog breeder thinks.  I've heard others say why they think breeders do what they do.  To better the breed or to continue a good breed is all I can truthfully remember as sounding like possibly legitimate reasons in my perspective.  And maybe these are motives I can relate to on some level.  That's where my ability to relate ends.

Over the past several years, some breeders have taken up breeding specific 'sport dogs'.  These dogs are said to be designed for optimal physical traits that contribute to highly successful athletic abilities.  Also, over the years I've heard of flyballers who specifically breed their team dogs and then sell or give away the puppies to other flyballers.

Here's where the phrase 'follow the dogs' comes in.

There are some big names (i.e., flyball teams) in flyball who are now in the business of breeding for the sport.  Perhaps their motives are all good.  Since I am unable to relate to this type of business, I have a lot of reservations.  I know my motives are all good.  I want the best for flyball and for flyballers.

And, my most important desire is for what's best for the dog(s).

In my mind, there are tons of dogs out there who can be rescued and who would be great at flyball.  I think I'll always look there first whenever I decide to add to my family again.

And, I will pray.


I Like Flyball!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

How about something new in flyball...well, new for me at least.  Up til now I'd say 99% of my blog has been devoted to just about everything except training and my dogs.  This morning I decided to just do it differently...yeah!

Last weekend my newest flyball-dog-to-be successfully did a 4-pawed box turn at practice.  She's a tall and long husky type and I can't tell you how excited I was when she repeated the turn several more times.  She has a really happy and fun spirit and is learning soooooo fast it makes my head spin.

And, it makes me reminisce a little about my flyball experiences over the past 15 years.  Just last November, I retired my first flyball dog after 13 successful years consistently playing and competing.  She turned 14 just before retirement.  What a joy it is to have played at the sport with her for so many years and my heart is overflowing thanks to her!  The year before, 2012, I retired my second flyball dog (hmmm, she was also 14 at the time, sweet).  She just turned 15 last month.  I am thankful every day for both these wonderful spirits who came into my life and shared themselves with me.

So, now we are all sharing flyball with the newbie in our household and things are starting to click.  I think we will be introducing the ball into the 4-pawed swimmer's turn pretty soon.  She already knows the entire course down and back, taught herself to trigger the box (and) catch the ball and return.  I bet she'll be able to put the swimmer's turn into her repertoire in no time.

Practice is coming up in a few days.  Can't wait!  I Like Flyball!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

While some things change, others stay the's a saying that popped into my head this morning as I was catching up on all sorts of events going on in my environment and my life.

Of course, flyball was one of the things in my head!

Since I have not posted on this blog in several months, I want only to post short thoughts that do not take a whole lot of mind energy to write.  Therefore, the following are simple snippets of the theme 'what's changed and what hasn't' in flyball off the top of my head:

- U-FLI 2014 Championships are different than in past years and the changes appear to make it significantly easier for a team to enter.  I think the new program no longer includes qualifiers or qualifying tournaments thus eliminating cost and travel expenses for participants throughout the year.

- The new Multibreed Title Awards in NAFA are now being compiled for near-term future distribution.  I requested my club's awards and look forward to receiving them.  I'm not convinced this is a necessary expenditure of NAFA volunteers time nor of NAFA dollars, but it is a nice gesture on their part.

(Did you know NAFA removed the old club owner access and replaced it with a new 'public administration site'?)      

- The many changes and enhancements to the NAFA Database are pretty nice and fairly easy to see and use.  I especially like the change to tournament scoring that shows regional qualifiers vs. tourneys that do not meet the requirements.  A good change.

- The 2014 election period for NAFA BoD and ED is under way.  I noticed the position of ED has only 1 nomination.  The current ED has been in the position since May 2008 (if not longer).  I was surprised to see only one name for 2014 and that the same ED has been in place for 6 years already.  I was surprised at the length of time because BoD members are limited to only two consecutive terms (i.e., a max of 6 years).  I could not find a limit in the NAFA By-Laws for the ED.  I believe this is not a good thing for flyball because it limits the capability for change.

- The U-FLI tournaments I've been to recently have had lots of pre-flight, singles and pairs racing.  This piece of flyball racing seems to be a big hit with flyballers and is an overall great change U-FLI introduced to the sport that I'm glad is staying the same.

- I discovered a facebook page for 'flyball training' and I joined it (thank you to the page owner for approving my request).  It's not an extremely busy page but so far I've been introduced to some nice flyballers.  This was a nice discovery since it seems the former venues for training material or help (i.e., I-Flyball and Prop-a-ganda) have been underutilized in the recent year or so.  I hope the new facebook page will be a good change and will help flyballers share training tips and experiences.  

That's all I was thinking about this morning.  Short and Sweet and keeping with this Blog's motto...K.I.S.S.

Thanks for stopping in and reading.  If you'd like to share your morning thoughts on what's staying the same and what's changing in flyball, c'mon join in.  Comments more than welcomed! 

v/r, I Like Flyball!      

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This blog began in early 2012.  Today is July 31, 2013, and I wonder if anything has been accomplished over the past 15 months...either on a personal level or for the benefit of flyball.
Based on the number of posts I've made, 2012 was fruitful on a personal level.

But, something happened in 2013 and a couple of changes are bigger than I expected. 

One change is there's not a lot of open discussion going on about flyball and some people/clubs/teams I haven't seen at tourneys in a while.  Some of my flyball friends used to play both NAFA and U-FLI and now some of them only play U-FLI.  Me included.  

Since I played NAFA before U-FLI, I still try to follow some of the happenings in the organization...I guess because I still have hope for critical changes necessary in leadership, the political environment and the ED/BoD representation for the betterment of flyball.  I'm not holding my breath, though.

The other change for me is writing this blog.  There's a big difference from last year.  This surprised even me!  


2012, 34 posts
2013, 3 posts (including this one)


The first 6 months - over 700
The last 10 months - over 2,100 (a 300% increase)

Top viewed posts in 2012

1) Going Around the Rules for Points & Regional Champ, 9/21/12

2) Chapter Four - Championships, 7/23/12

3) The Growth (or decline) of Flyball, 9/13/12

4) Chapter Three - Competition, Recognition and Speed, 7/16/12

Top viewed posts in 2013

1) Does the recent past come back into play or matter to you in flyball, 6/26/13

2) There is a new twist to 'ghost club' and co-hosting, 11/6/12

3) The growth (or decline) of Flyball, 9/13/12

4) I've Got Your (Run) Back - A New Type of Judge, 10/14/12

I haven't done an analysis of what this means...yet.  Maybe all is well that ends well.

I Like Flyball!


Flyball Surgeons General Warning: Attack dogs and owners who do not pick up after their dogs beware of the underground electric fence. No visible training flags. 

Flyball Can Be Fun! blog powered by K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Does the recent past come back into play or matter to you in flyball?

You decide.

I just posted the following on my facebook page, but I believe it merits being on this blog, too.
"To any/all of my flyball friends going to the U-FLI Championships, it is with heartfelt concern I wish to advise you of the following request posted to the U-FLI list with reference to someone looking for open spots to run. I do not like rumors or gossip and this is neither. It is factual. It is also an honest concern for the sport of flyball that I am sharing this with MY FRIENDS ONLY since you know me and you know my heart is in the right place and I truly wish no harm to anyone or any of our canine companion sport-athletes or fellow flyballers. I realize some aspects of what I am about to share are 'old news' dating back a year or two and I acknowledge people can change as well as we can choose to forgive past discretions. Yet, I must at minimum share the following so that you can make your own 'informed decision'. If you have any questions, please ask. And, please be assured I truly want what is best for flyball, for our dogs, for you and for U-FLI. v/r,..."
My facebook comments - 
To: "UFLI Flyball List" <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 1:51:31 PM
Subject: [U-FLI Flyball List] Fw: Dream Team wannabes

Hi all! My friend Carla is having trouble getting set up on the UFLI list so I told her I would sen
t this on her behalf.


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Real Working Terriers <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:37 AM
Subject: Dream Team wannabes

Since we are already going to be at Nationals for the Tournament of Champions, I figured I would offer my dogs to any Dream Teams that are looking. I would really like to find a Staffy Bull or bull breed team to run with
My dogs are...
Ruckus (BC) - 10" jumps, runs in the low 5's, turns to his right, and can run in any position.
Stealth (SBT) - 7" jumps, runs in the low 5's, turns to his right, and can run in any position.
Gidget (Min Pin) - 6" jumps, runs in the low 5's, turns to her right, and can run in any position. She may already have a spot, but it hasn't be finalized.
Sniper (JRT) - 7" jumps, runs in the low 5's (has hit 4.8-4.9 several times), turns to his right, can run in any position but does best in cleanup.
Boom (SBT) - 7" jumps, plows through everything in the high 5's, turns to his right, and can run in any position.

Please contact me offlist at

& the Working Terriers crew

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flyball - What's Love Got To Do With It

Last weekend I watched the epic DVD called 'Hatfields & McCoys' with Costner and Paxton.  It got me thinking about love and hate and what these emotions do to people.  The movie was, to me, a very extreme example of hate and how devastating it can be.  

The example of bad sportsmanship in my previous post could also be construed on a deeper level to be hate.  Perhaps it was only spite or anger.  But, the fact the person(s) purposely made their thoughts public to all flyballers demonstrates they wanted others to know their feelings.

Question is...why did they want others to know.  It is obvious what was in their hearts and it definitely was not sugar and spice and everything nice.  So, could it have been hate?  

Now, imagine how you would feel on the receiving end of someones hate.  Does it feel good?  Not.  

What is completely absurd to me is some people actually allow themselves to feel spite, anger and hate in flyball.  It is simply sad and honestly ridiculous.  To top it off, why on earth would they want to spread something that could infect and destroy all that is good in flyball.

Bigger question is what makes them think the rest of us will put up with their spiteful or hateful behavior. 

Unfortunately, I have been around people in flyball who do not come from a good place in their heart.   And, truth be told, it can be devastating if their attitude and behavior are allowed to infect a group of people, just like it did in the movie. 

Come on folks!  Flyball is by purpose and design a happy place where we all bring our best furry friends and we play until we can no longer stand up and move or smile because all our muscles, including our smile muscles, are too tired from having been used for hours on end.  

I've read somewhere that happiness can be contagious.  I've also learned that it's more fun to surround one's self with like-minded and like-hearted people in life.  I am on a mission to do just that and I hope you'll join the cause.  

And, just like the Hatfields & McCoys, in the end, love won!  (ooops, sorry for giving away the ending)

I Like Flyball!  


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sportsmanship and heads up, Club Owners.

This topic is probably as 'old as dirt' and I suppose there are times we all want to sweep the bad parts under the rug.  But I don't think it can be swept under when it keeps happening over and over and the cumulative effect is negatively impacting our sport's level of participation and its image.

Sportsmanship and ethical behavior are addressed in both NAFA and U-FLI Rulebooks.  Their rules generally refer to what occurs 'at a sanctioned tournament' and I get that.  But, are there instances that occur outside the technical realm of an event that can also be considered unsportsmanlike or unethical?

The answer is yes.    

At the recent, 11/9/12 NAFA Candidate Chat (for Board of Directors election), the topic was discussed.  An example was given of poor sportsmanship that was not observed by everyone at the CanAm, but was none-the-less evident to anyone watching via livestream.  To me, it is an example of what could be called 'subversive' bad sportsmanship with an underlying bias against and intention of undermining other flyballers.

[It is wise for all of us to remember what we say privately may or may not affect how we are perceived in public, but what we say publicly (eg., livestream) will lastingly influence how we are perceived in the eyes of others, including new participants and the next generation of flyballers.]

What concerns me the most during the Candidate Chat, of which there were current Board members as well, the major response to the question of how to handle unsportsmanlike conduct was it would best be handled by the Club Owner(s).  Other suggestions were to lead by example or handle unethical and unsportsmanlike behavior in private.
One candidate said if 'policy issues' were brought to their attention, they would look into it and take action as a board member.  But no one said they would take the same action in the case of unethical or unsportsmanlike behavior.

Why is this a concern?   Because instances of poor sportsmanship, including the example from the CanAm that was brought up in the chat, can be found at all levels of flyball including club owner, board member, officer or others who represent flyball's leadership.  And, if one read the chat carefully (especially during the live session), it appeared possible the specific incident may have been associated to a club owner or higher level participant.   
It is clear 'leading by example' is not universally applied nor being followed and the idea of handling sportsmanship and ethics issues in private has either not been utilized or it is blatantly not working. 

Who in this example would be handling this specific occurrence if it were the club owner with the bad sportsmanship?  Or, who would handle this if it were a board member?  That's one.

Where does that leave flyballers who are subjected to either direct or indirect unethical or unsportsmanlike behavior by those on the Board or another Club Owner, or anyone in a leadership role?

[Yes, there is the official and formal process of filing ethics charges and paying the $100 fee complete with a hearing to resolve the concern; but, in this case with this example of a subversive and unsportsmanlike public comment, I believe the formal process is not the answer.]

Another option that needs to be considered is for those in like-positions (i.e., club owner to club owner or board member to board member) to find the determination within themselves to confront their colleagues with the truth, have an honest conversation and ask the person to stop the bad behavior.

It would be a good starting place and will demonstrate to others that no one is above reproach when it comes to ethics and sportsmanship.                  

[I am struggling with an overall point with this post because it is a HUGE topic with many different facets.]

I think perhaps this is not only a heads-up but also a warning to Club Owners.  Unsportsmanlike conduct and unethical behavior is not limited to what you might personally see in front of you and if someone in your club is behaving badly, you may be the last to know and the first one on the hook to deal with it. 

This post is also an encouragement to all flyballers to read the latest NAFA chat transcript.  And, I encourage current Board members, the current candidates and current leaders in NAFA flyball, do not go along just to get along (with unethical and unsportsmanlike behavior of your colleagues), stand up for your own principles of what is right and what is wrong, and dig down deep in your determination to confront the issue of bad behavior and help promote the positive changes that are needed within the organization.    

As far as U-FLI is concerned, I hope they have already learned by example and are wise beyond their years.  

On a slightly somber, yet hopeful note for flyball everywhere,
I (still) Like Flyball!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

There is a new twist to 'ghost club' and co-hosting tournaments in flyball.  At least that's what I've heard recently.  So, I checked it out a little and discovered one example that looks a little odd to me.

The example is a well-known, long-time flyball club who had just co-hosted a tournament along with another club.  The 2nd club is owned by the same people associated with the 1st club.  Thing is the 2nd club has no actively racing dogs (the few dogs on their roster were all listed as 'retired' or 'deceased' in the database).  In addition, the 2nd club (the co-host club) had no entries at the specific tournament.  

In essence, it appears one club co-hosted a tournament with themselves.  A fact only made clear if one looks closely at the two clubs and their information.  

I get the purpose of co-hosting with a different, perhaps small club since that may provide the help a new club needs to get off the ground as well as help teach them the ropes about how to host a tourney.  I also get the use of a (ghost) club name in order to organize a team and send some entries to race in the Open class since this may allow dogs and handlers from different clubs or who are free agents to come together which may help grow flyball in some fashion.

But, the same club, made up into two clubs and then co-hosting with themselves with no racing dogs or handlers in the one you see the same things I do with this scenario?

Some thoughts I have are that this co-hosted-by-the-same-club tournament:

a) does not help a new club get off the ground since there technically were no new dogs or handlers, and

b) had nothing to do with additional team entries that allow free agents or dogs from different clubs to run together so it does not help grow flyball.

I can only surmise there is some other motivator here.  I truly have no idea but a couple of things jump out at me as possible outcomes of these actions:

1) There are now two clubs rather than one club being tallied under the organization's numbers; this means the numbers may be artificially affected/inflated with respect to number of hosting clubs and growth trends.

2) It is possible that one club now garners additional delegate votes since technically it is treated as two clubs hosting and both clubs therefore may earn a vote for this tournament.

  > The maximum a club is allowed to earn in a year is capped at 15 votes; so the scenario in this post may actually allow the 'ghost club' to also earn a vote for co-hosting.  However, since it is actually the same people in both the ghost club and the first club, it is potentially a round about way for the first club to earn more votes and to have more voting power than the max allowed. 

[Note: I do not know specifically how co-hosting affects delegate vote accrual and I have not sent a formal inquiry to the organization, yet.]

3) It appears this scenario has been able to 'fly under the radar'.  Fishy?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  Definitely interesting.  

I Like Flyball!

PS - If you'd like to read my original 'ghost club' post, please see 5/17/12.    


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Growth (or decline) of Flyball - The Numbers

Previously in my post on this subject, see 9/13/12, I wondered what flyballers thought about a flyball promotion article that mentioned 'thick-skin' and 'rampant' team splits being part of the success and growth of flyball.  I decided to put the numbers to the test and see if they prove anything one way or the other. 

I was able to find some statistics on the NAFA website.  Kudos to their website which contains lots of fun facts and interesting statistics.  Thus far, I have not discovered similar statistics for U-FLI.  I wish I could compare total combined numbers for both organizations and get the entire big-picture.  

Based on the Growth Trend chart found on NAFA's website along with published BoD and/or AGM meeting minutes from 2006-2011, I believe the numbers do, in fact, prove something.  Here's the stats I used from the last six(6) years: 

2006 - 2011

- Tournaments:  varied from 325-352 per year; trending downward last 3 years

- Racing Clubs:  varied from 347 to 372; trending upward  

- Hosting Clubs:  varied from 134 to 148; trending downward last 4 years

- Newly registered dogs: varied from 1,266 to 1,081; trending around 1,100 last 3 years

- Newly retired dogs:  trending around 1,200 (2006-2009)
  > 2010 & 2011 data not available

- Racing dogs:  trending each year around 5,700 dogs
  > 2011 data not available

Looking at these stats, overall for the past six years, the trend has been stagnation to downward.  The retired dogs to newly registered is a wash; slightly less new registered dogs per year, so no growth there.  Total racing dogs has remained consistent each year; again, no real growth overall.  Tournaments are trending down as are number of hosting clubs.  The only upward tick is in number of clubs; but, the rest of the numbers reveal having more clubs has not meant having more participants/dogs nor more tournaments.            

Even if the numbers proved something different, I still do not believe the 'thick-skinned-club-split-up-method' is a good way to go.  I believe the fallout in morale is too high a price to pay. 

I still prefer the opposite method of forming new clubs and getting more people and dogs involved in flyball as I mentioned in my earlier post on this topic.  Perhaps if you agree, we can start a new trend together toward increased growth by providing a better flyball experience from the ground up through a more supportive and happier way of creating more clubs, people and dogs.

I Like Flyball!


- NAFA website chart contained a few possible errors in the numbers when I compared them to the meeting minutes.
- Information for years 2010 and 2011 are currently found in minutes; not in the chart yet.
- I passed along the potential errors/corrections to NAFA.
- I chose to start with year 2006 because going back to 2000 was too much and because '06 was a few years after U-FLI formed (and perhaps as someone said to me, the dust had settled by then).
- I wish I had stats for U-FLI.  I apologize to you, the readers of this post, that I am unable to provide a comparison of NAFA and U-FLI, nor a combined total picture of all of flyball.
- I hope the U-FLI generation and the next generation NAFA has adopted/will adopt a different growth strategy than has been done in the past; I'm thinking positive :o).


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

700 Views, The Top 4, My Favorite Flyball Posts

In comparison to the flyball list and other popular flyball blogs that have been around for years, I'm pretty new to the blog world.  I haven't publicized other than to my friends on Facebook.  Today I was pretty surprised to see there have been over 700 views so far.  I do not have that many Facebook friends so I have no idea where all these views have come from.

I began roughly 6 months ago and I'm surprised I'm still blogging about flyball.  I thought I'd be done with it by now.  For me, it's been fun but the blog is lacking a little 'something'...I had hoped/still hope to see some comments from readers every now and then.  I've been told it is a difficult process to post a comment here.  I admit I haven't tried it myself.  I also don't know what to do to fix the problem.  If anyone reading this knows how to fix it, consider yourself wonderful and hired for the job!  

Anyway, in honor of 6 months' blogging, here are the top 4 posts read by flyballers May - October, 2012: 

1) Going Around the Rules for Points & Regional Champ, 9/21/12

2) Chapter Four -  Championships, 7/23/12

3) The Growth (or decline) of Flyball, 9/13/12

4) Chapter Three - Competition, Recognition and Speed, 7/16/12

Based on being 'fun to write' and not based on actual content (that's a different list), my top 4 fun-to-write-posts are:

1) Cowboys and Flyball, 8/20/12 

2) Getting to the Heart of Flyball, 5/1/12

3) The Flyball Social Network & Media, 5/29/12

4) Shenanigans is my new favorite word, 9/27/12  

If you're reading this post, do you have a favorite?

With Appreciation,
I Like Flyball! 
Flyball Can Be Fun! blog powered by K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie)  



Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've Got Your (Run) Back - A New Type Of Judge

I recently sent the following idea to one of the flyball organizations:


I am not sure who to send this email to, perhaps the Rules Committee or Judges Committee? I have a suggestion for a new 'judge' position based on 3 occurrences at a tournament a few weeks ago. The idea is not mine, but I am forwarding you my related thoughts, observations and others' observations.

The idea: there is a need for a 'runback judge'. This is someone who observes what goes on in the runback area while racing is going on. The head judge does not and cannot see back there many times.

Three instances happened at the tourney I mentioned above where a runback judge would have been helpful.

1) a dog in the right lane crossed into and stayed in the left lane after its own run and prevented the left lane from re-running a dog in order to complete the heat. The crossing dog's handler did not have control of their dog. This created a safety issue as well as interference. The judge did not see it.

2) A dog bit another dog and drew blood during racing in the runback area; both dogs were on the same team. The judge did not see it.

3) A large dog crossed into the opposing lane in the runback area and chased down and grabbed a very small dog around the neck. The small dog was not bitten but there was lots of slobber which indicates a lot of mouthing by the large dog. If the small dog was bitten it could have been a disaster. The handler of the larger dog did not have control of their dog. The judge did not see it to even issue a warning.

In all 3 of the above instances, I believe a runback judge (similar to box judge or line judge) could have helped the head judge tremendously and overall having a runback judge would add to safety.

Thank you for considering this idea and I look forward to hearing back.


I don't know if this idea has ever been discussed officially by either NAFA or U-FLI.  I (do) know that the topic of identifying the 'racing lane' has been and I believe NAFA has said the runback area is not an official part of racing.  I'm not sure what U-FLI says about it.

But, I wonder if maybe the runback should be defined as part of the racing lane.   Maybe there should be a judge back there (who helps the head judge) to call out the rare instances of dog bites, interferences, warnings to handlers who don't have control of their dog and warnings to help prevent potentially aggressive dog behavior. 

I also thought of something else that happens in the runback area for which it is obviously called out as a penalty and a loss for the offending side even if the head judge does not see it...fouling in the ring.  Kind of hard to miss seeing that one even without a runback judge.

I don't know if this is a good idea for flyball(or not).   I don't know if it is needed and I don't know if other flyballers like the idea.  But, I hope I hear back from the organization no matter what their answer is.

I Like Flyball!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Curiosity killed, wait...good thing I'm a dog person and good thing it doesn't actually 'kill' anything!

Before beginning this post I did a little research and analysis on the subjects of my recent curiosity; dual-region tournaments and Regional Champions.  I looked at the NAFA Database for 2012 racing year before it got wiped clean a few days ago and I checked the website with reference to past and present Regional Champions.  

At first, I was curious whether or not all regions have champions in both Regular and Multibreed.  My analysis revealed some interesting tidbits.  The most interesting was the variety and difference in how regions actually make a Regional Champion.  Based on a few of the regions I looked at in more depth, my curiosity also made me wonder about the meaning behind the word champion, does it still hold the same level of respect and desire, has anything changed among flyballers, and if so, why has it changed.

I used to think that becoming Regional Champ would more or less happen spontaneously because a club happens to have a really fast team who wins a lot of races and enters a lot of tournaments.  But, three of the examples I looked at were very different than this expectation.  Something has changed.        


1) In a small area with 2 clubs in the region, their tournaments always lumped all teams into Division 1 regardless of team times.  For obvious reasons this makes sense in order to be able to even have tournaments in a small area.  Most of the time tournaments had less than 4 teams; sometimes they even split up between Regular and Open.  This racing year, they ended up needing 1 more tournament to qualify so they could 'cement' their championship.  They went after it and did.  In a previous racing year, the same thing happened where they needed 1 more tourney.  Both clubs at that time chose not to pursue the additional tournament to get their Regional Champ.  One club said they were tired of hosting and the other club said it was not worth the financial burden given the regional points both clubs had already earned and how the Regional Standings were.

Knowing what I do about the clubs in this region, nothing has changed for the host club always being the host club, so why were they no longer tired of hosting this year?
2) In a fairly large region, this year's Regional Champion in Regular was not a close competition.  The region has many clubs and teams, but in 2012 barely enough tournaments to qualify.  They managed to have 7 tournaments but less than half the region's clubs attended all 7 and even less than that raced in the minimum of 4 required for a champion.  One club hosted a year-end tournament in a different region.  I think it was intended as additional 'insurance' but I don't believe the outcome was as they expected.  It seems the majority of clubs in the region were simply not interested in having a champion.

I don't know their exact reasons although I know there is political tension in the region.  Did this play a factor or are there other reasons for some clubs' backing away?

3) In a tri-region area of the country, there have been a number of dual-region tourneys being held throughout the year in 2012.  One of the regions does not appear to have changed strategies and they will have their champion(s) as in the past years.  Another region was unsuccessful in qualifying for Regional Champions this year even though they have many clubs and have had champions in the past.  The third region in this area also used to have lots of tournaments and has qualified for champions before, but this year one of their clubs was only able to attend 3 in-region tourneys for Multibreed.  In order to qualify, one club in the region chose to host a tournament outside their own region.  2012 is the first year this strategy was allowable in the Rules.  It is different than the well-known 'preferred region' rule and can be used one tournament at a time,  whenever desired and as often as desired in a racing year.

Similar to the first example, the club was able to cement  their regional champ by hosting the tournament themselves.

And, similar to the second example, their region did not fully participate in the regional champ program and it appears some clubs are choosing to back away.


To me, none of the three examples are bad things; they are just different and they indicate a change.  The examples cause me to wonder why the one club is no longer tired of hosting tournaments.  Why are some clubs in previously popular areas backing away.  Why are some clubs choosing to host a tournament out of region to get a champion.  And I wonder if the regional champ program is as popular and as respected as it used to be.    

I am curious by nature and I am analytical.  Always have been; always will be.  Sharing is also in my nature; and there you have it.  I hope it has enlightened you, or, at least entertained you.  To me, either and both of which are good things in flyball! 

I Like Flyball!