In my 22 years as a sports turf manager, I have shared advice with a lot of managers, supervisors, and employees of parks, fields, and sports facilities. But the most important advice ever given to me came from my grandfather. I can still hear him saying, “The difference in being first class or second class is 5 minutes.”
Five extra minutes
He made this statement one day while watching me work on a flower bed. I was hot and tired and ready to get through. Granddaddy was a very simple, plain spoken man. He looked at my flower bed, said his piece, and walked away. I looked at him as he walked off, looked back at my work and thought, “What is he talking about?”
But as I got older and started working on sports fields, I realized exactly what he was saying to me. Something can look good, but spending 5 more minutes working would make it look great. I began to apply that statement to everything I worked on.
My fields always looked great and I received a lot of praise from the people who use them. But I wanted to be even better so I elected to apply this motto to my entire life. I began to improve my relationship with God, and with my family. I developed an idea about what character really is and I started to practice my beliefs. I began to give God 5 minutes more to work in my life. And I gave my family that extra 5 minutes.
Soon this spilled over to the way I treated people. I gave everyone those 5 extra minutes to explain, teach, or learn. I strive to make them feel first class. The return reward is that lots of people improve their own life and I have a part in that improvement.
Yes, my grandfather was right about those 5 minutes. And he was right too, when he said that when we die, they will put that turf on top of your grave, so, “Grow the best grass you can grow.”
Kerry Page is Athletic Fields Supervisor, Itawamba Community College, Fulton, MS.