This week I spent about 15 hours talking to a family of farmers for a magazine assignment. They don’t make much, they work all day, and their world is constantly in flux, but every third sentence was: “I love it. I just do. I love the work.” This came after talking about picking rocks; about cows crapping on their hands as they milked them; about doing the books at 5:30 am before heading to a second job, then getting back to the books and pigs after work. And it sounded most sincere when the kids would wander by to feed or pet the cows.
All I had to do was slug coffee for 36 out of 40 hours to write about their hard work. How do you complain about your job after that?
(Well, surely I’ll find a way. Today though, I’m inspired.)
I coached high school basketball for nine years. Parents would be wise to follow everything in this to the letter. I’m not a religious guy like Matheny, but I respect that he throws it out there right away. I tried to do the same with my much different beliefs when I coached. His opening salvo in this letter to the parents of a youth baseball team he coached is classic:
"I always said that the only team that I would coach would be a team of orphans, and now here we are. The reason for me saying this is that I have found the biggest problem with youth sports has been the parents. I think that it is best to nip this in the bud right off the bat. I think the concept that I am asking all of you to grab is that this experience is ALL about the boys. If there is anything about it that includes you, we need to make a change of plans."
When I first got here and was watching the page one meeting, I’d watch them decide what were going to be the six most important stories in the western world for the following day’s paper. Meanwhile the web’s above their heads, where all stories are becoming interchangeable. I thought, ‘Oh, this is so silly to blow a whistle and say, “Stop! These are the stories worth your attention.’”
But now that I’m bathed in information every single day and stuff is wooshing by me, I kind of love the full-stop arrangement of stories on The New York Times. A lot of times I wake up and think about the day that’s just passed and wonder, ‘What was that? What happened?’ A lot of stuff, and I can’t really tell which part of it was important.