Word games are fun, right?
Let’s try one: Describe the industry you work in using one word, and one word only.
I’ll go first. To describe the publishing industry, I’d use the word “informative” – our job as editors and writers is to inform you (our readers) about topics and points of interest that help you succeed both at your jobs and in your careers.
Now it’s your turn. Describe your industry in one word.
The best answers we received were “dedicated,” “unpredictable,” “evolving,” “growing” and “unique.” Would you agree with these descriptors of the athletic field maintenance industry?
Let’s look at them one-by-one.
- Dedicated: I like this one best. Dedication is something I’ve seen in each and every one of the hundreds of athletic field managers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at trade shows, conferences and various other events. To all of you, I must say I really respect and admire the dedication that you display at your fields, keeping them safe, playable and looking great for athletes of all ages and levels of competition around the country.
- Unpredictable: I have a feeling the person who chose this word was talking about the weather. In SportsField Management’s 2016 State of the Industry Survey, Mother Nature was chosen as the biggest challenge athletic field managers face, beating out finding reliable help, using older equipment and high expectations. Don’t forget about the unpredictability of the grass — despite all the work, care and treatment you and your staff can give, grass can behave in crazy ways. Either way, there’s definitely a huge element of unpredictability in the industry, there’s no doubt about that.
- Evolving: Improved technology and better product efficiency and effectiveness are changing the ways you care for your fields. This aspect of the industry was on display at the Sports Turf Managers Association Conference & Exhibition in San Diego earlier this year, as many companies rolled out exciting new technology in both equipment and products. Evolution for an industry is essential in that industry staying sustainable and staying around for good. Consider what Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, once said about evolving: “What’s dangerous is to not evolve.”
- Growing: This word goes hand-inhand with the one above. Growth, similar to evolution, is essential for any industry and the people who work in that industry. Technology is certainly a reason your industry is growing. How about more colleges and universities implementing turfgrass programs? Or how about established turfgrass programs growing and expanding? This is happening at schools across the country. Also, it’s up to you to make sure you continue to grow, as far as your place in the industry. Make sure to keep up on your continued education and never stop learning and seeking out ways to become a better field manager.
- Unique: No debating the validity of this answer — uniqueness is a great way to describe your industry. This is good, by the way. What, or who, doesn’t aspire and strive to be unique? Last summer, I spoke with Kelly Rensel, who at that time was the groundskeeper at Pioneer Park, home of Tusculum College and the Greeneville (Tennessee) Astros (rookie-level affiliate of the Houston Astros). I asked him, “What’s the most important quality required to be a successful field manager?” He replied, “Having a sense of humor. Being able to find humor in a 16-hour, 10-tarp pull kind of day makes the pain of it a little easier.” That’s certainly unique to any other industry, wouldn’t you say?