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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Mar 13, 2015

My lack of athletic abilities probably contributed to my indifference to sports, which could be described as passing, at best.

For me, the day’s big game will most likely be the big bore.

Yet, I find myself feeling like a loyal sports fan whose excitement about the approaching big game builds as the day and hour of the greatly anticipated event gets closer.

For me, the big game is each crop year and the warmer temperatures, longer days, and melting snow has me excited about opening day when the planting part of my big game begins.

For me, right now is when the fans are entering the stadium on opening day, getting their seats, and wondering what the final score will be.

Will it be close or lop-sided? Will it be a winning season when it ends next fall?

This is the time when machinery is prepared, plans are made, and everything from fertilizer to diesel fuel is in a state of readiness for the first pitch, the kickoff, the starter’s gun, when the crop year, my own big game, is in its first inning, first quarter, or first lap.

Of course, the team I cheer for is the Farmers as they play the opposition, known as the Weeds, the Markets, and the Weather.

Those are formidable foes and every year they seem to introduce something new to the game requiring the Farmers to rethink their game plan during the game.

There are smaller teams that can create problems, sometimes even upsets, such the Breakdowns, the Funds, the USDA Reports or the Basis.

Nothing can be taken for granted.

As the game progresses through the summer, we wonder how the outcome will be affected by too little rain or too much rain, temperatures that can be too hot or too cool.

What unexpected events will have a strong influence in determining the outcome such as a passing hail storm? How about possible rising interest rates, striking truck drivers in Brazil, monetary policies of the Argentine government or government stability in the Ukraine?

Going into fall, the first frost date, something that didn’t matter early in the season, takes on greater importance when it will determine game over.

Harvest will arrive and the Farmers will sprint to the finish line or, if behind in the game, hope for a late rally to catch up where rain, heat, or markets are lacking and the Farmers need to gain an advantage.

As in any game, there will be times when past players will take time to assess the game as it has been played so far, between innings or at half time.

These are the ones whose age has reduced their abilities, but they still have a strong interest in the game.

That is where I see myself, as a former player who is now a spectator, admiring the younger players who bring new skills and excitement to a game where I was once a participant and am now a loyal fan.

As the crop year ends with empty fields and, hopefully, full bins, we will look back at the year to reflect on how it played out.

Where there were good or bad strategies, decisions will be made and plans may be changed with improvements being made for next year, because the Farmers are no different than any other sports team.

Win or lose, there is always next year with a new season and another chance to try again.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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