So, having become fed-up with the fact that the two closest agility clubs here are full to the point that they’ve had to close their waiting lists to get in, most obedience clubs don’t let you do agility until your dog is 12 months old (any kind of agility), or run in very strict ‘modules’ that don’t allow anybody to train in a way slightly different to theirs (see this post for more), I decided that I’d start looking into setting up my own training, whether in club-form, small-group lessons form, etc. I’ve done enough foundation with Lu to figure I’ve got a pretty good starting point for other new people, and had an idea of how to run more advanced classes in a ‘workshop’ format, to take advantage of combined knowledge.
So, I got Husband on the phone and we called three of the local shires, to see if they had any sports-grounds or ovals with lights that we could use. Now that daylight savings is over, it’s getting dark by 5.30-6pm, so having classes at 6.30 or 7 wouldn’t work without lights, or without power (if I were to supply my own lights).
Now, you’d assume that all ovals and sportsgrounds would be property of the local council and therefore governed by them, right?
Well, the resounding answer we got was:
“Oh, well, there’s a football club there. You’ll have to talk to them.”
“Oh, well, there’s a football club there, so they’re in charge of those grounds”.
“Well, there’s a football club there, and they use the oval every night”
(and really, every night of the week?? Every. single. night???)
I’m sorry, but I thought that ovals were for the use of the whole community, not just AFL players? What if I had a soccer club? Or a Lacrosse Club (I’m assuming they play on ovals..?) or a cricket club, or some other kind of running-around-on-grass-club that required lights?
No, no. It’s all about football. Which really irritates me because, well, why? I know we’re ‘football mad’ down here, but I’m certainly not- I want to run my dog around with a group of other likeminded, responsible dog people, somewhere with lights, and at this point in time, the only place I can think of is a parking lot because everything else is under the control of football clubs, apparently.
I often wish that agility here would take off more, become bigger, more clubs, better handling, better instructors, more trials to choose from, trickier courses, more international seminars, etc, but when I look at the response I’ve received from our councils in reply to my request, I can see why it’s so difficult to make it go anywhere. Even horses have specific grounds they can use (pony-clubs). Where’s our dog specific grounds?!
Probably being used by football clubs, 7 nights a week.