Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Invisible Fence

When Chico, my family's weimaraner, was just a puppy, full of energy and lacking any discipline, my parents invested in an invisible fence so that he could roam the backyard but stay relatively contained. All told, with purchase and installation price included, they spent nearly $500.

It took Chico about two weeks to convince my parents that the fence was as invisible to him as it was to any of us. And he was the one wearing the collar. Today the fence sits, buried under ground around the perimeter of our yard, nothing but a curiosity for the worms and beetles that burrow alongside it.

Chico was able to break through the shock collar admonishing him from leaving the yard because he wanted to, had to, be wherever the action was. So if I was leaving to go for a run, he'd brace himself and run past the zaps to where I was. It never entered his dog brain that he wasn't supposed to be at the epicenter of the excitement, that he needed to obediently sit within his delineated perimeter.

So it makes me laugh a bit when I see n00b Ultimate players at practice or in games, tethered to their field bag by a short leash only they seem to see. They arrive to their practice or game field and choose a spot to place their bag, set it down, and warm up. But once things are under way, you can always find them hovering around their bag as if, at any moment, some emergency may demand they reach inside it within a second's time.

Their team is defending the goal line? There they are, 50 yards away, maybe yelling but not leaving their bag's sight. Their team is transitioning to endzone offense? They're in the same place you last saw them, tails wagging. No teammates on the far sideline? Sorry, they just can't make it over there. What if they get so incredibly thirsty suddenly, and their water bottle is out of arm's reach? So there they are, each little dog restrained by his own invisible fence, happily obedient to its perimeter, waiting for the moment they get called back to contribute on the field, and completely unaware that their sideline game, where gigantic team-wide momentum can be built, is busy playing dead.

Good luck in the series, be as good a teammate on the sidelines as you want to be on the field.


bali_ultimate said...

How often is this a problem? I'm an old-timer (graduated college in '93). Played on a pickup team put together to give a local college team a workout the week prior to sectionals... and was kind of shocked that their sideline wasn't involved at all. Now, this wasn't an important game of course -- but the way their coach and captain explained it to me, they viewed it as an important part of their preparation. And the sideline was brain dead (far sideline? Might as well have been in Siberia) as they lost to a bunch of old dudes who had never played together before (though the score was dictated by high winds and driving rain that neutralized the kids athleticism). I know nothing about that team and its dynamics, but i assumed the lack of sideline activity was a sign of a bigger problem. When you see a teams sideline "playing" smart, you know that team is going to play as a team, whatever their skill level.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! It is particularly lacking in the women's game. The most fun part for me about playing with club women is that the women will actually talk on the sideline! Just got no less than 5 d's at a tournament as a team that way recently. I try to encourage the college girls I coach to move around and talk. I realized first I had to teach them what to say. That might seem intuitive after playing a long time, but it isn't for them. Good post!

Arnold Santos said...

you need to ask the expert about this dog problem. Maybe there are problem on the invisible fence. Better use this
to test if that thing works