EXHIBITOR'S PRAYER

Author Unknown

Dear Protector of Dogs and Fools:

When that intelligent, hardworking, honest judge finally sees what I see in this dog I've worked so hard and long with, help me to accept my win with grace and dignity. And, when that blind, clueless idiot -- I mean, judge -- somehow fails to see what a fine job we've done, (well, at least better than the so-and-so he placed ahead of us!), help me to accept my defeat with some of that same grace and dignity.

Lord, you alone know how I've sweated blood over this dog, the hours I've spend getting her ready (and, Lord, are any of them ever ready?). You(and probably only you!) understand why I've spent good money on this animal -- money I could have spent on lots of other things -- things that just might have afforded me a little more pleasure and a lot less frustration. Lord, tolerate my disappointment when I lose, and help me keep it all in perspective. Help me remember that when some dog show judge gives me the gate, it's not as if St. Peter just gave me those pearly ones.

Lord, clear my eyes and help me see, *before* I open my big mouth, that the so-and-so with the cow-hocked, pony-gaited dink walking out of the ring ahead of me is actually a fellow exhibitor who has also worked hard, maybe even sweated blood over *his* dog too, and probably deserves to enjoy this moment to its fullest while it lasts.

Lord, you know there are sometimes -- but not nearly as often as I tend to suppose when I lose -- such ugly things as Politics, Prejudice, and Unethical Practices, which may cause my dog to get beaten unfairly -- sometimes. Help me, then, to remember that several wrongs won't ever make a right, and that none of the wrongs gives me an excuse to act like an idiot.

You know I'm a competitor, Lord; I make no bones about that. I love to win and I hate to get beat. There are few things more abhorrent to me, Lord, than placing sixth out of six. If I didn't love to compete, I'd stay home and knit afghans. But then, there are probably afghan shows, and people who hire professional knitters with high-tech knitting machines, and most likely there are afghan show judges who raise sheep whose wool goes into some of the winningest afghans, and there I'd be -- still frustrated, still getting beat, and without a dog to share half the blame. This year, Lord, help me to have a little more faith in my fellow dog folks, and for Heaven's sake, help me win, or lose, with a little class.

AMEN.

Submitted by John Chandler

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