Sunday’s Flyball Finals will be exciting, for sure. But those attending the annual sporting event will feel a particular sense of pride this year. And a poignancy, as well.
“There is no doubt that Flyball has come a long way in The Park,” says Adrià Lebrel, president of the Park Flyball Association (PFA).
“It took years for us to accept it, and that goes for all ball sports. But it’s taken even longer for us to take pride in our abilities in that area. We’ve been far more willing to show reverence toward our athletes who wrestle, tunnel, race, or swim. Our ball athletes have had to work much harder for recognition and that’s a shame,” he says.
But, Lebrel says, it’s a testament to our ability to expand our minds that ball sports have finally gained our respect. And he credits Mammalian Daily Balls columnist and Park sports historian, Bailey, with helping to bring about the change in our attitude.
“Bailey worked hard to build respect for the ball. Before he started writing his column, none of us knew anything about ball history or its importance in the life of Canines and other Animals. He taught us about ourselves, and this year, with his work with the Park Museum on the flyball exhibit (Flyball and the Importance of Balls in the Everyday Life of Park Animals), he’s brought that full circle. We owe him a great deal of thanks.”
Still, come Sunday, we’ll also be feeling some sadness, due to the theft of Bailey’s basketball, which he’d lent to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.
“When he stands up to open the games, we’ll be feeling for him. There’s no doubt about that,” says Lebrel.