When I was in Junior High School (go Meadowpark Trojans)I had my very first crush on a boy. His name was Art Buck and he was an 'older man'. I was a freshman and he was a senior, and in those days that meant that we did not attend the same school.
But one of our horse 4-H members, Rocky Williams, attended the same high school as Art, and one day he decided to try out for the high school musical 'You're a Good Man Charlie Brown'. Now I am sure that I knew at the time why he decided to do this, but for the life of me I cannot remember why now. I do not remember Rocky as being someone who walked around singing and dancing and I certainly do not remember him as seemingly theatrical. But try out he did and he was cast in the starring role of Charlie Brown.
Rocky was dating the sister of one of my best friends at the time and we all showed horses together. So when opening night came along we all headed to the high school to watch Rocky's debut.
As I said, I was a freshman and I had never had a boyfriend or been out on a date. Never really had even a crush on someone (well...there was that brief-couple of weeks- crush on Dan Lauer, but he turned out to be such a good friend that I never really thought about it anymore).
If truth be told, boys were really scary to me. Horses and dogs were a lot easier and the thought of actually going out on a date was terrifying to me. Hmmmm....now that I think about it, junior high school was really not that much different than my life has been as an adult!
So anyway, off we all went to watch Rocky sing and dance. I had never seen a school play, or any other play for that matter at that point in my life. Ours was not exactly a culturally filled family life- I don't ever even remember going to the movies with my Mom and Dad- so any play, let alone a musical, was foreign to me.
About two minutes into the show I started watching the actor playing Snoopy. He was a cute looking, all American type of guy, blond hair, blue eyes (I imagined) and by the end of the first act I was smitten down to my toes. I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen and I just knew that he was the man that I would someday marry.
By the time he was singing Suppertime, I was naming the kids and choosing the family dog.
For about the next four years I had a deep crush on him, even though he never even knew that I was alive (sigh)......
Because you see, life does not always turn out the way that our childhood fantasies wish. Art never fell in love with me, we never got married and....well.... naming the family dog just does not have the same impact when you have a pack of them.
However what did happen was that (in no small way due to falling for him), I also fell in love with the musical theater that night. After attending that show I started seeing every musical I could get to. I went to all of the high school musicals that came along, along with several college productions and eventually was even lucky enough to attend some first run musicals down in Los Angeles when I lived there such as Chorus Line, Cats and Phantom.
Yes...I LOVE Musical Theater!
I have lots of homemade CDs that are filled with show tunes. Even back when I was a teenager, while my friends were listening to current groups and singers, I was listening to the soundtrack from Bye Bye Birdie and West Side Story.
I can listen to Broadway all day long.
What I cannot do is sing a note. Or for that matter, dance a step....
I am a bad singer and I am clumsy as an ox.
If I was granted the wish to be able to do anything career wise I would have been a singer and dancer on Broadway. I would love to be up on that stage performing. But the sad truth is that I have about as much chance of that as I do of competing in gymnastics. It just is NOT going to happen.
But then a few years ago a friend introduced me to Canine Freestyle. She said that it was a combination of obedience and tricks set to music. At the time I was competing with a couple of my dogs in agility and since that kept me pretty busy, I only paid about half attention to her while she was telling me about the sport. I think I even sort of dozed off when she invited me over to watch a video with her about training and competing in freestyle.
But she decided to give it one last shot. She showed me a video on the Internet of a woman dancing with her Golden Retriever to 'You're The One That I Want'. And while I was duly impressed by what the two of them were accomplishing, more than anything I was struck by the joy that was in both the handler and the dog's faces.
AND they were dancing to a musical number from Broadway!
I was hooked.
That was back in 2004 or so. Since then I have trained and retired my first dog Jakey (i.e. see: attacking Sheltie from earlier blog) and have multi-titled my current dog TillyBelle. I have been fortunate enough to become certified as a judge and to get travel around the country and across the ocean to be involved in this sport.
I have been able to dress as a Warrior, Aladdin, a Pirate, a Cat, a Broadway Star, a Pink Panther, a Cowboy, a 50's girl and many other characters along the way. And I get to dance out on stage to my favorite music in my own clumsy way.
People clap for me, they congratulate me when it goes well, they commiserate with me when it does not, but most of all they support me.
You see, that is what our sport is best at. Being supportive of each and every one of us who give it a try with our beloved dogs. And for at least a brief time, we all get to be a star.......
Tomorrow my daughter Kaity and I head down to Norman so that I can compete and judge an event. We are taking TillyBelle, Flag-puppy and Spur with us. Tilly will be competing for another two legs to add to her many titles that she now has earned. Flag and Spur will get to dance in the Show and Go each day to start to prepare for the day when they will be competing.
Two months ago Flag lived in a barrel in a back yard and last month Spur was on the verge of being put to sleep at a shelter.
And this weekend we will dance together.
Just like on Broadway....
My life is amazing.
Thank you for reading about this......
Laura and the dancing pack......