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Mental Toughness in the Heat


Randy Wilson

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Every few years, it gets hot.  This thrills the mass media because it allows them to pound the fear drums and increase their ratings.  So, whenever it gets warm outside, we release a training film full of helpful tips designed to strengthen mental toughness in the heat.  As a bonus, here is a column from ten years ago, explaining our most valuable strategy for dealing with the heat:

The 100 Days of Hell

Actually, it's more like 120 days for those of us trapped on a bentgrass plantation in Georgia, but that sounded like too long a period to survive, so we stuck with 100 days.

Way back in the olden times, in order to keep the wilt-watchers, the irrigation tech and our ownselves from going completely raging berserk at the thought of the endless heat, my brother Mike devised a brilliant survival tactic.  Reasoning that part of the problem was mental, consisting of a psycho-traumatic condition aggravated by the media and baked brain pans, Mike began to keep track of the 100 Days by posting a countdown on the assignment board.  

Each evening, we conducted the ceremonial erasing of the day's number, sort of like sounding taps on a military base.  We then posted the next day's number and celebrated.

the irrigation tech would curse the calendar, El Nino, La Nina, the local weather charlatan, bentgrass . . . 

We also had a mechanism for that unsettling period when we reached Day Zero in September and it was still Africa hot.  The moaning, sniveling and whining would increase, as there was no visible sign of the promised relief or the grand celebration for having reached 100 Days.  The wilt-watchers and the irrigation tech would curse the calendar, El Nino, La Nina, the local weather charlatan, bentgrass, Mike and me, all while shrieking things like "Asphalt melting!  Air too hot to breathe!  Can't touch steering wheel!  Hair burnt!"  

91128200_freakedoutcrewworker.jpg.f0dbcd3a934890fa7d349d18497e72e9.jpgThis is when Mike would implement the Post 100 Day mechanism.  He would calm the unstable, frazzled, burned-out irrigation tech by placing him in a cool, dark, air-conditioned room.  Then, Mike would say, "I realize it is still hot, but it's no longer August.  It's September now.  Try to understand, August is August, but, well . . . September is September."  Mike said this last part in a soothing voice, like the ER nurse uses when you wake up on that steel table wondering how you got there.

Then--and this is the important part--Mike convinced the wilt-watcher or the irrigation tech to repeat the mantra with him.  "August is August, but September is September."

382171143_crewchantsAugustis...jpg.44c3808ac766b4d2d9a9436b7d293a92.jpgAt this point, we all joined in, chanting and dancing, because we had lost touch with reality a while back and were unable to face one more day in the skin-sizzling heat.  Whenever a crew member freaked out and we couldn't show them a cold front coming down from Minnesota on our radar, we immediately began the chant:  August is August . . . " 

Then one day, we converted to Ultra-Dwarf and we just sat in the shade . . . and celebrated.

 

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August is August... Love that.

After a year in Starkville, MS, there really is a difference in the deep south. But, hot is hot, and anywhere when it breaks triple digits is a challenge.

What really kills me is the dry. 

ah, well. Another great post by RW.

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Thanks, Joe.

I'll take the dry over hoomidity.  I'm guessing you have the world's supply of wind up yonder in Kansas, which makes turf, skin and eyes dry, right?

Also, I heard there's no evaporation in Mississippi.

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