I caught myself staring at the grass.

How does the saying go? “When in Rome …”

Let me explain.

On a Sunday afternoon in early May, I was at home watching the Yankees-Orioles game on TV. This was nothing different or new for me; as a die-hard Yankees – and baseball – fan, I watch most games during the season.

But something about this day, about this game, was new and different. During a replay of a nice catch made by a Yankee outfielder, instead of focusing on the great catch, I found myself staring at the grass, admiring the beautiful green color and the cool mowing pattern.

Yes, that was new and different for me. To say the least.

And I have you to thank. Since joining the SportsField Management staff in October, I have a newfound appreciation for fields. All sports fields, not just baseball. I pay attention to aesthetics, how beautiful they are and how they play. I realize nothing about this seems strange – to you.

So, what’s my point?

Let me rewind a bit. Before joining this magazine’s staff, my background in journalism was in sports journalism … the best kind, right? Ever since I was a kid, old enough to read the box scores in the newspaper, watching sports has been my No. 1 hobby, my passion, and my favorite way to relax. That said, I obviously knew field maintenance was a profession. I knew there were groundskeepers and crews caring for those fields I’d been looking at – and playing on, as a kid – all my life. But until I began covering this industry, I had absolutely no idea how much work was involved in caring for fields and I had no idea how much science and expertise was at play. I had no idea the level of detail it required.

In other words, the education I’ve received in this industry since October has been interesting, informative and fun. In talking with groundskeepers, field managers and turf directors, I’ve learned so much about what it takes to make sports fields look good, the number of hours it requires and the skilled personnel it takes. To me, still an industry novice at this point, it’s mind-blowing.

I’ve always felt that people who work long hours – people who work hard during those long hours – to make something look good, mostly behind the scenes, don’t get nearly enough credit. I’ve also learned that, most of the time, they don’t want or need the credit. They know when a job is done well, and their internal satisfaction of a hard day’s work is infinitely better than some trite compliment from someone who doesn’t get it.

Regardless, I want to take this opportunity to recognize you and all the hard work you do. As someone who previously was totally in the dark about this industry, I’m honored and privileged to be covering your profession, which, by the way, is filled with so many awesome people (I can honestly say that, as everyone I’ve interviewed and talked with has been nothing but warm and friendly).

This is my first official issue as Editor In Chief of this magazine, and I look forward to continuing my ongoing education and telling the stories of some of the fantastic people in this industry.

So, I wonder … the next time I attend a baseball game, what will I spend more time admiring? The actual game, or the field?

What an interesting question.