Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pairs Slacking Training Continues

Last fall, I reported that Wendy and Possum had begun training for a competitive cat sport called Pairs Slacking; I discuss the some of its basic elements in that post. If you happen to follow the sport, you know that almost all of the commentators and judges take their inspiration from figure skating's legendary Dick Button. I suppose that's because he was relentlessly catty; a fussy attitude suits Pairs Slacking because, like skating, minute stylistic details matter enormously. While it "only" consists of lying around and not moving a whisker, it's still a persnickety, grueling, high-pressure sport. And there is zero room for new ideas or generosity of spirit in Competitive Pairs Slacking. Possum and Wendy face huge challenges as they work their way up the competition ladder. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they make it up the first rung.

They remain at the Beginner, or Pre-Junior Level, since they are still being coached for the preliminary exams that would qualify them to compete in performance. If they continue to work hard and study, they may be ready for the exams next year. 

While they are developing nicely in the areas of Lack of Energy, Lack of Choreography, and Graceful Foot and Tail Positions, they are consistently weak as far as Lethargy (Wendy), Sleepiness of Eyes (Possum), and Sloppiness of Pose (both). They are trying too hard, in other words. As far as Flopping Down in Unison, they have their good days and bad days. And Wendy still gets spooked if she hears a noise; judges would detract loads of points for that. Possum can't resist flourishing his magnificent tail — another big point deduction because it expends energy.

Here they are, practicing:

As you can see, Wendy is quite talented at the sleepy-eyed pose, although her cocked right ear betrays a touch of alertness — a 3-point deduction. Possum's right ear is even worse. But since he doesn't have much of a left ear, some judges will tend to be more lenient. Note also that Wendy's legs and feet are parallel and tucked one behind the other. While Dick Button would think that was terrific if she were trying to land a double axel, she isn't — she is lying on a table trying to look semi-comatose. Such self-conscious neatness has no place in Pairs Slacking.

Possum's casual sprawl is more desirable, having natural feline grace while also being suggestive of sloppiness and lack of choreography. However, Possum's tail has slipped off the table. Sloppiness has limits even in Pairs Slacking. That's a major point deduction. I told you it's a nit-picking sport. These two have a long way to go.

And I mean a long way to go: here is Wendy a few seconds later, looking hopelessly alert. She is clearly contemplating a leap off of the table. Possum realizes this and looks annoyed. He had finally gotten his right ear in the correct position, to no purpose:

Every young athlete has to begin somewhere. While these two seem naturally talented, I sometimes wonder if they will have the determination and grit to succeed.


  1. Loved this post. I was in tears laughing! You are a very talented writer. Also, I have a soft spot for Wendy because I took care of her as a kitten.


  2. I love this blog! I laughed all the way through. Being a cat person myself, I appreciate your creativity. You could write a great little cat musings book on your beautiful felines. Thanks for sharing your talent.


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