Fall is near here in Nursery Country.
After a long, hot, dry summer, there is much hope and anticipation for cooler weather and plenty of that famous Oregon rainfall. Likewise, September brings about my favorite pastime: football.
I spent nearly two decades of my life on the gridiron, participating as a player, coach, and occasional referee. This fall is no different, as I am currently coaching my son Henry in his first season playing tackle football. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be part of championship-level teams and all-star squads, but I’ve also been part of teams that saw very little scoreboard success.
Football has taught me so many things about life that I wouldn’t be able to fit them all on just this page. Most of all, it gave me the ability to deal with adversity, which we in the nursery industry are all too familiar with.
You don’t tend to think about adversity much when you’re on the powerhouse championship teams. It’s the winless seasons that really make an impact on your approach to life. I had one such season that stands in the forefront of my mind more than any other.
Following a run to the state semifinals with a senior-heavy roster, our sophomore-led team finished the season with two wins, and featured a few broken bones, a flu week that left us with six healthy players, half a dozen different quarterbacks, and one extremely humbled young head coach.
That group of boys took their lumps, learned from their experiences, and really grew together as a team. They learned how to better support each other, and more quickly bounce back in the face of adversity. Those boys also earned themselves playoff appearances the following two seasons.
So, how does this relate to the nursery industry?
The 2021 Farwest Show just wrapped up. It felt like there couldn’t have been more obstacles thrown in our way. There were so many unknowns going into this year. The 2020 show had been canceled. Up until a few months ago, our venue was still being used as a vaccination center. Many of our international industry partners were still unable to get into the country.
And then, just as we were finishing up our final preparations in the days before the show, the governor decided to roll back protocols and reinstate mask mandate restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
This wasn’t what anyone wanted. We all knew it would be a completely different experience than we were used to, and it absolutely was. Those of us in attendance made the best of the situation. There was great networking and quality business conducted.
This was the first marketing opportunity for some new growers and exhibitors, and several took full advantage, writing their first major batch of orders. Right alongside them were the veteran growers that went through the same stages of growth years ago, giving support and encouragement to our new members.
I’m grateful for all those involved with putting on the Farwest Show, from the committee of volunteers and staff, to all the exhibitors and attendees that made the experience worthwhile. We will continue to learn from challenges we’ve faced, and put forth our best effort to provide our growers and customers with a great platform for continued success.