So as a kid, I loved basketball. I carried one everywhere with me. I dribbled it on the rocky ranch roads. My brothers finally put a little hoop up for me when I was about 6 so I would stay out of their way on the big court. Living on a ranch, I pretty much had to entertain myself. So basketball was one of my main obsessions. At the time my town was pretty rural and there was very little organized sports and virtually none for pre-Jr High. My sister's roommate in college played for UNR's women's basketball team. By a strange turn of events after watching several of her games they asked me to be the "ballgirl". Bless my Mom and Dad's heart they let me. For about 3 years they drove me an hour or so in and an hour or so home to every home game UNR womens team played. I warmed up with the ladies, and sat on the bench, gave out much needed water, and swept the floors at half time.
My Dad was on the local school board for like a hundred years. I think that having a big family and living in a rural community, being involved is like a requisite. All my sibs were shipped to another county to go to high school, and it was one of his goals to build a high school in our hometown before his last kid (me) graduated.
I was so proud to have a brand new high school as a ninth grader to go to. Actually I was so excited, it would be MY gym. My teams would break it in. We would be the pioneers for all records that would eventually have to be broken. We had brand new uniforms. And I had brand new sparkling white Converse All-Stars and matching sweatbands..... it was a dream come true. Varsity starting point guard as a freshman!!!
I will never forget our first away game. We played Austin High School. Being a rural Nevada school the bonus(not) is you get to drive many many hours to play teams of your own size. I can't paint this picture clear enough!!! The gym was so small we had to stand to watch the boys varsity play. When it was our turn, we stepped out onto the court against a very seasoned scrappy tough team made up of ranch kids and native american kids that were meaning MEAN business. We lost that game horrifically. The score was something like 75-15. They had a tremendous native american player named Arlenne Hooper, who claimed she was going to play for UCLA (don't think that came to fruition). I had to guard her. My 5th foul was somehow with my face. It was my first broken nose. I watched my team get annihilated standing at the end of the bench with blood gushing from both nostrils. I never cried!!! However I couldn't choke down a morsel of the spaghetti the booster club made for us afterwards.... rather I just slunk back onto the bus and found my seat for the long and silent ride home. Wow, that's what humble pie tastes like. My first bite was BIG and it hurt going down.
The several hours that I had to reflect on that ride home were amazing. This is where I had to decide if my lifelong dream was really a nightmare and I was just delusional. Maybe I should quit!!! I really was good at so many other things. After all, I just barely weighted 100 lbs and I wasn't very tall at all. I did have tears, but only in the dark. And my pristine shoes were all blotched up with blood. Everything that could have gone wrong, did!!!! Somewhere in the darkness, with the dank smell of sweat, semi soaked in blood and tears I developed a sense of resolve. I WOULD NOT quit and I would not let my team quit either!!!! I would lead them and protect them!!! And that is what I did.
Dry Lake SDT 2012
Outrun 625 yards
Maybe this is why I am so drawn to this new sport of sheepdogging. I think the magic of the handler and amazingly talented sheepdog on the huge unconquerable fields is just one blade away from being impossible. Yet somehow they do it!!!
Zamora SDT 2012
pic by Kelsey Nichols
trial field behind- huge outrun
Maybe I am innately masochistic, and I just enjoy pressing myself through failure over and over. Maybe I will just dwell in failure here for the rest of my life, happily. The journey. Oh the journey. I think the draw is doing what is deemed to the normal eye impossible. It would be like me having to conquer the rubix cube, and then having to acheive the best time on it (6 minutes was my best). HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE. Well, I am here to tell you it is not easy. But even if you've just got your nose bloodied and you're on the long bus ride home, I already know that it will be so worth it in the end. I've walked that path many many times already. In the gym the misnomer is mattering to the crowd and the fans. In the field the sililoquy is mattering to yourself.