This too shall pass

By |  August 15, 2018 0 Comments
Matt Neff headshot

Matt Neff

Ah, the dog days of summer. The weather is miserable, you and the crew are exhausted and the turf wants nothing more than to shut it down until next spring. And the good news is that you still have to get through your biggest event of the year.

When people in most other professions talk about the “grind,” they’re not having to do battle with Mother Nature on a daily basis. I don’t need to tell any of you that she is a heartless mistress who couldn’t care less that the greens need about a month of nighttime temps in the 50s and absolutely zero more days with heat indexes of 100 plus degrees.

In addition to dealing with her antics, you’re also dealing, at times, with her equally volatile offspring — human nature. You know the old saying, “There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and one or two seasonal guys quitting without notice right when you need them the most.” I might be paraphrasing a little, but I’m pretty sure that’s the general idea.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the virtually guaranteed catastrophic equipment failure, irrigation issue or massive storm that occurs at the absolute worst possible time. On the off chance that you don’t believe me, just check out Turf Twitter. It might cease to exist this time of year if it weren’t for people telling their horror stories to the only other people on Earth who understand what they’re dealing with.

But here’s the good news. You absolutely, without a doubt, got this. You didn’t get to this point in your career as a superintendent or assistant by just taking it on the chin and going into your office to cry about it. The thought may cross your mind to go to the bar and “drink about it,” which could be argued is a better option than crying at work, but neither is terribly productive.

I would even take it one step further and suggest that many people in this business thrive on this type of adversity and pressure. I’m not saying that anyone, if given the option, would choose to deal with the absolute dumpster fire that this time of year can bring. I am saying that, when it does happen, people in this business embrace the challenge and find another gear, even when it doesn’t seem to be there, and figure out a way to get it done.

Completely uneventful and “easy” seasons are like funny Woody Allen movies. They simply don’t exist, and anyone who says they do is lying in a vain attempt to impress people. Problem solving is what we do year in and year out. It’s in the bad years when all the experience and insight you’ve gained over the decades pays off.

One thing many of us struggle with, especially in the tough years, is finding ways to decompress and recharge. Almost every article you’ve ever read on this subject likely mentions this, but it bears repeating. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally always is important but is even more so when the pressure is at its worst.

Spend time with family and friends whenever you can. It’s amazing what even a couple-hour mental and physical vacation can do for your perspective and energy level. The necessity of being with the people who care about you the most can’t be understated. It never hurts to be reminded that there are people who love you regardless of how things are going at work.

And if watching Woody Allen movies is how you decompress, then by all means, disregard my earlier statement. If it works, I might try it myself. I guess it’s at least marginally better than crying at work.

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