Is it already 2008? It seems that it was a lot less than eight years ago when many people were concerned about what would happen when the calendars turned to 2000. I wholeheartedly agree with the observation that as we get older, time flies.

The first of a new year is always a good time to reflect on what you have accomplished and what you hope to accomplish. It is also important to be flexible. We all know that things happen to waylay our best-laid plans. This is especially true in this profession with so many things, such as weather, that are out of your control. Dealing with change and surprises can be more difficult. Many of us enjoy new ideas and tools, but we sometimes find it difficult to accept significant change.

I have found the best way to deal with change and adversity is through faith and trust: faith that I have been given the tools, talents and resources necessary to deal with whatever comes up, and trust that I am not alone and will receive any assistance necessary.

We can also deal with adversity by recognizing that no matter how bad things appear to be, they could be worse. That does not mean that we shouldn’t do what we can to make things better.

I am sure that Steve Wightman had clear field plans for the October 29 San Diego Chargers home game at Qualcomm Stadium. His plans didn’t include 10,000 evacuees calling the stadium home for several days; the evacuees’ plans for that week had not included a stay at Qualcomm. From all accounts, almost everyone at Qualcomm—staff, volunteers and evacuees—dealt with the situation as best they could and more. As Steve said to me via e-mail on October 24: “It’s amazing how many helping hands and organizations surface at times like these.” As one of the evacuees was quoted in an AP story, “You can deal with it, or you can whine.” That reminds me of a friend that lost most of his right arm when his car was hit by a drunk driver. He has said on several occasions, “When something comes up, I try to first make a positive statement and say ‘on the one hand’ as I look at my left hand. As I state ‘on the other hand,’ I then turn to the right and tell myself, ‘there is no other hand.’ I choose to remain positive.”

How well do you plan, and how well do you deal with the unexpected? Talk to others that have had similar experiences or have fields or conditions similar to yours. They are one of the many useful resources at your disposal.

Speaking of talking with others, I hope to see many of you in Phoenix at the STMA Conference. While you are networking and picking up ideas from others, please take a few minutes and talk with Suz and me about what you would like to see more of in SportsField Management.