Well, it’s been a great trip so far. Shorts and T-Shirts all week so far. Workin’ on my tan man… hah! Eat it Fargo! -20 degrees… lol
Here’s a quick recap:
Last weekend I arrived in LA and was picked up from the airport by Al Erikson. Al and I ‘met’ online about 3-4 years ago on K9Disc.com and have communicated extensively online about dog sports and dog training but had never met until last week.
Al picked me up at the Airport after an uneventful flight and we cruised on over to Joel Zucker and Bailey’s in Downtown Santa Monica. Joel has a very quaint house a few blocks from the beach and Downtown and although he had a previous engagement and couldn’t hang out with us on the first night he left us a good sampling of IPAs (beer) and Bailey and the cat kept us company in his cool little bungalow apartment.
One of the things that really excited me about the trip, the opportunity to work with, learn from and teach some of the world’s best disc players. I practiced my nail delay quite a bit the last few weeks specifically to be able to learn from them without being embarrassed by my lack of skills. I tried to get in shape after all the Halloween Candy, Holiday meals, Pies and Christmas cookies so I could make it through the 10 Day Discdogging Marathon.
The first person I met at Jam Camp was Stork. We warmed up together in the little gym of the Eagle Rock Rec Center, had a nice game of catch. I freaked him out with a few throws that he requested to see again and get some instruction on. We had this great discussion about naming new tricks and throws. He told me I had some work to do. Pretty cool experience there…
The gym was alive with disc play. Kids, Pros, Novices and aspiring Pros moving about in a blizzard of plastic. Big discs, mini-discs, fastbacks, rings all floating around as the participants warmed up. Greg Hossfeld showed me this really cool juggle set up which you’ll probably see on video pretty soon.
Freestyle Disc as Conversation
Stork opened up Camp with a really cool presentation where he spoke about the special nature of the game of Frisbee. He talked about Freestyle Disc as a Conversation and had Jake Gauthier and Lori Daniels demonstrate behind him. Back hand Throw and Pancake Catch. Back and forth they threw.
Stork Narrated the conversation.
Throw: “Hi, How You doin’?” >>>Catch: “Good.”… Return Throw: “How you doin'”? >>> Catch: “Good.”… Throw: “How you doin?”… and so on.
A simple game of catch with the disc, using backhand throws is simply an introduction – “Hi How you doin’?” – a single phrase in a conversation or a single word. The above conversation got stale rather quickly. He then asked Jake and Lori to start to use some different words or phrases.
Lori throws a curve left: “Hey, I can curve Left!” Jake Trick Catches: “Sweet! I can curve right!” Stork says as Jake returns with a sidearm throw that curves right. Jake and Lori step it up the jam and Stork narrates the development of a rich conversation.
I hope that makes sense because it was a wonderful presentation and really set a really nice tone for Camp. It really fits dog sports and dog training as well.
Humble and Proud
Saturday morning the Discdog group worked with the Human Freestyle instructors as did I.
Dave Schiller was really patient with me as I failed, repetitively, nail delay after nail delay. Schiller, this dude Brian (IIRC) and I jammed for about an hour. I got to watch and serve nail delay to sweet trick catch over and over. Brian was a pretty good athlete and was able to pass nail delays from hand to hand and Dave was giving really technical advice for the trick catches. It was really cool for me to see and experience even though I was not very successful with the delay.
It wasn’t until he asked if I was sure I wanted ‘Clock’ and threw me some ‘Counter’ that my nail delay work from the last few weeks paid off and I was able to do some delay work.
We were just starting to get off nail delays and work some throw and catch stuff when Stork stopped by and told Dave,”This guy…” thumb points to me with a nod and a raised eyebrow,” has throws you’ve never seen before. He’s got stuff I’ve never seen before… Think about that one.” He went back to his students and we went on jamming. It made me feel pretty good. Chalk one up for the old ego…
I showed Dave and Brian my handplant throw and some of the other releases I’ve developed and use.
That morning was about humility and validation. I was humbled by the unbelievable skill and knowledge of disc play that I was surrounded by. It made me feel pretty small. At the same time I was being humbled, my own skills were being validated and I felt proud: “I taught Stork a throw he’d never seen before.”
“I coached Dave Schiller on throwing and he told someone that he learned a lot from me.”
Yup, The first morning of Jam Camp was a pretty special experience for me.