Happy fall y’all–my favorite time of the year. As fall sports and activities come to a close and the winter season is upon us, now is a good time to start to prepare for the new year and the spring sports seasons.
This (late fall) was my favorite time of the year when I was in sports turf for baseball. The grind of the season was over, with maintenance projects like aerification, sod work, clay work, and the like completed. The stadium was overseeded, and we got a chance to do PM’s on our equipment, organize our shop, offices, and check our inventories of all of our day to day products we used during the season.
It is a great time to think about and take advantage of:
- Industry trade shows and meetings
- Brushing up on products and offerings with your vendors
- Earn CEUs and pesticide credits for either certifications or your states’ requirements
- Network with other industry partners and reconnect with old friends
Here are three ways to make the most of your downtime this winter.
Visit with Other Sports Field Managers
It’s also a great time to get out and visit some of the other sports field managers in your area or across the country. When I traveled during the fall, I would often go through a town to see another sports field manager and share stories or compare our seasons. I can just about promise you if he or she is there and you let them know you want to stop by, the majority will welcome the visit if available.
Attend SFMA Meetings In Your Area
Many Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) chapters across the country are having that one last meeting before the end of fall, and many of their meetings include vendor showcases, golf tournaments, and field days. These meetings provide good opportunities to rub elbows with sports turf managers in your area and provide the ability to connect with your local network of professionals.
Check Out University and Association Options
There are field days and turf conferences that many of the land grant universities put on that are a great chance to see what is going on in the turf world. Some of the universities are offering short courses that may be a benefit to you as well.
Many other turf and landscape associations are having their annual meetings and conferences this time of year as well. It’s a great way to see what vendors are offering, what chemical and fertilizer technologies are being offered, check out the latest and greatest turfgrass equipment, and again, connect with other industry professionals who share the same passion about this industry as you do.
Many of these meetings, trade shows, and conferences offer CEUs and Pesticide Credits that will keep your certifications up to date as well as keeping you informed of any regulatory requirements, pesticides that may be on the shelf, and changes in use rates just to name a few.
Of course, my favorite part of the “Conference Season” is always seeing old friends and partners, catching up with them as a collective group. The benefits of the networking opportunities that occur at these meetings are limitless. Here is Jeremy Bohonko, Regional Manager at Ewing, and myself at the SFMA Conference in Savannah, GA, in 2022.
One of the greatest aspects of our sports field industry is that managers love to share and talk about what they do. We all learn from each other because we fight a lot of the same battles. There were not many times in my career where someone didn’t return a call or a text if I needed to run something by them just for another opinion or to make sure I was on the right track.
Speaking of conferences, Ewing will be attending the Southeast Regional Sports Turf Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, SC, from November 13 to 16. We look forward to this event every year in the Carolinas, and it has a great educational slate again this year. View details including the agenda on the event website.
We will also see you in Salt Lake City, UT, for the 2023 SFMA Conference and Exhibition from January 16 to 19. We look forward to seeing all of you there.
If you're interested in connecting with Ewing at these events, reach out to me on Twitter @CBEwingSports. Have a great fall and a great holiday season.