Thursday Night Mowing League: The Grand Finale

TNML Commissioner’s Report:

We made it. It's officially the mowing off-season.

Save the emails about how you'll be mowing well into December. We get it. And they could run NASCAR into December, but the good old boys -- and the ones with rich daddies -- need time off from the grind of giving 110%. Those of us who've been mowing religiously on Thursday nights since mid-April, or whenever we held the first league night, need a chance to reflect on the journey we've been on this season.

We need to stop and think about the ups and downs of life in a mowing league.

I took a look at the Twitter analytics for the league and we've added over 1,000 new league members this year. We've shipped out well over 1,000 league stickers. We've sold tens of thousands of dollars in t-shirts. We've caught the attention of beer brands, mowing companies and fuel company social media managers.

This league is everything the Internet is supposed to be.

People literally from around the world have taken notice of this league. (Yes, I will get the stickers out to Germany and New Zealand.)

This league is nothing without the incredible people who send in reports -- short and long -- who have bought into this insane idea to mow your grass and then email a stranger with reflections on mowing your lawn.

Now it's time to grow the league.

Things have stabilized with the transition of OutKick to Fox News Corp. control.

Guys, keep in mind, earlier this year when there were talks of doing gatherings in random cities around the Midwest, I wasn't sure how much I'd need to work on weekdays and weekends. We literally had a skeleton crew and making plans of any sort were nearly impossible.

I was working a ton.

Now we have a crew and I can start to focus on TNML expansion.

Thank you for an incredible season. This job continues to amaze me on a daily basis. It's not lost on me a bit that I'm very fortunate to do this for a living.

PS -- I need to get with the marketing department to see what they have planned for Black Friday sales.

TNML Reports:

Sean C. in Granger, IN puts a wrap on the season and it's one for the ages:

Well, Joe, this is it. We can “officially” close the books on the 2022 TNML Season. Though with the upcoming 70-degree weekend, I anticipate one or two more traditional mows, along with some potential “leaf pick up” mows before the battery gets detached and the mowers go to the back of the shed.  Those will be “off-season” mows.  Depending on rain and darkness (especially after daylight saving time ends on Nov 6th), those mows may not happen on a Thursday. 

This season-ending day encapsulates what the TNML really is all about. Cold rain (with a couple of non-sticking snowflakes) was the story early this week. But today we finally had a dry, sunny, albeit traditionally cool fall day (the high MAY have gotten to 55).  So despite a few leaves on the ground, and not much grass growth over the last two weeks, tonight was a fairly standard mow. With sunny skies and temps in the mid-70’s projected for the entire weekend, and early into next week, getting the mowing done this Thursday was just as important as a mid-summer Thursday mow.  It’s one more mowing-free weekend to enjoy the golf course, some patio beers watching college football, or just enjoying the fresh air and outdoors, IN SHORTS, one more time in 2020. 

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the TNML has absolutely changed my life.  Mowing on Thursdays isn’t just an option anymore, it’s what is done. In just 2 seasons, this concept has been ingrained in me. So much so, that my friends understand that me doing something on a Thursday between April and October is based on the condition that mowing comes first. With no regrets. 

However, I think I need to be careful. My willingness to join this incredible community of TNML-ers with very minimal prompting has made me think……does this mean I’m susceptible to joining a cult?!?!  I mean, we have our own shirts. We have our own hats. We even have our own stickers and cups. All we’re missing is a TNML “kool-aid” or beverage, or maybe even our own TNML-approved haircut!

But my recent acquisition in support of the Thursday Night Mowing League has convinced my girlfriend that I may in fact be in a cult. A few weeks back I sent a pic in that showed a TNML sticker on the back of my workhorse Trailblazer.  It’s the car I use to haul mulch, transport yard equipment, or grab whatever DIY stuff I need from the hardware store.  I know you mentioned that you love the stickers on the cars. And I agree. We’re spreading the word. But at the time, I was in the process of acquiring something that I hoped to receive by the end end of the season……a new addition to put on the car. As I submit my last photo of the year complete with removed shoes and hat, you may notice something else… brand new, personalized, State of Indiana TNML license plate!!  So if you happen to get any emails about seeing this plate out and about, you’ll know who it is. 

I was actually a little surprised someone didn’t beat me to it. But I was glad to be able to grab this in Indiana before someone else did. However, there are 49 other states where TNML is available. I encourage my fellow TNML-ers to join me. As the great “Nature Boy” Ric Flair always said, “You can’t be the first, but all of you can be next!”  Let’s take this movement from the suburbs……to the highways of America!  

Enjoy the offseason everyone. Spring will be here before we know it. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to reading Screencaps and providing insight and comments when I feel I can be a good contributor. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you all again soon!  

• Indy Daryl writes:

I’m sitting here on the couch with a New Glarus Staghorn in hand on the last league night reflecting on the ’23 mowing season. And while I certainly don’t have 3,000 words this year, I wanted to continue the practice of writing down what mowing has meant to me.

Thinking back to where I started, babying my five-year-old, very poorly taken care of Yard Machines 21” to mowing with a fully battery-powered Greenworks 21” “hog,” the league year has brought many surprises and challenges. From an unexpected drought that kept me from mowing for weeks on end, to learning how to schedule my Thursday mow around one battery (still haven’t bought a second..) and its 40 min run time, to the first full season mowing at 4”, this season tested me in unexpected ways. Yet, here at the end, I think the biggest aspect of mowing I have come to appreciate is how important it is to my weekly rhythm.

I know in today’s day and age rhythm and routine can sometimes get a bad rap. And I am not suggesting that this is necessary for everyone. But in my own life, leaning into and deepening the rhythms of my life is one way I have thrived in recent years. I will spare the SC and TNML communities the four stages of developing rhythms over my last 37 years but examining how much of my life was in upheaval these last few months has helped me make sense of a lot.

The two months I was overwhelmed with contractors coming in and out of our house, disrupting everything from meals times, particularly family dinner, to simply being able to work, the injuries I experienced which kept me from running or working out as much as I would normally, the friendships that as life becomes busier and busier become hard to hold onto. I could go on, but what I have found is that the regular mundane routine aspects of life have repeatedly kept me grounded.

As I have pressed into and prioritized the small things in life, I am better able to handle the major disruptions. Reading my Bible in the mornings with a cup of coffee. Cooking dinner with my wife on a near daily basis. Praying with my kids before they go to bed. Going to church every Sunday. And yes, even mowing my lawn on Thursdays.

These are the things that, while small, doing them over and over again, day after day, and week after week, support and nourish me. They become something that I have to have, not just something that needs to be done. Do I absolutely love mowing every week now? Definitely not. There are many times when I begrudgingly walk to the garage knowing that I simply must do it. Yet, even in those disparate times I have come to realize that I am being shaped by the decisions I make. I am being formed by the choice to mow the lawn, giving into the rhythm of the week, knowing that it will end up being good.

So, as I look back over the previous 5 months or so, I am encouraged by the growth I see in my own life. My lawn may still be full of weeds and crab grass but leaning into the routine of mowing has been an extension of how I want to live my life. I want to make sure that I am participating in and cultivating what might seem like small details but in reality, are the most important things I can do.

Mowing week in and week out, deciding to do it no matter what, is helping me to become the man I want to be. And now, because of the TNML I get to see lawns from across the country and how everyone else is oriented toward the seemingly small things of life. I absolutely reading a weekly report of how people from all over are taking care of their lawns. It truly is the best thing on the internet.

So, I have you to thank for continuing to encourage and give voice to how the small really can become big. My sincere gratitude to you for promoting and persisting in keeping up the TNML. And to all the members: YOU ROCK!!!

Indy Daryl adds:

Annnnnd that’s a wrap on the 2023 TNML season. Sunshine and weather decided to cooperate for a spectacular fall finish. Our big tree is in full regalia and couldn’t be prettier. Couldn’t have closed out such a great season without the help of my sponsors #Greenworks and #Altrarunning. Thanks for keeping this going Joe, truly appreciate all that you do for us normal folks. Hats off!!

• Rookie of the Year nominee Galen in Johnson City, TN writes:

Hard to believe my rookie season is in the books. I had a great 2022 and mowed over 200 times this year while putting smiles on my clients faces as they saw stripes on their yards. BUT, I finished mowing on Thursday nights!

Thanks to SCAG, Stihl, Redmax, Carhartt, and Keen for the equipment…second to none.

Thanks, also, to the macro and microbreweries for the enjoyment after a job well done.

To close out the 2022 TNML season I submit the obligatory Fall Pumpkin Barn photo!

• Candler in Duluth, GA writes:

Joe- It's been a tough finish to the TNML season out here in Metro Atlanta suburbia. It's only rained once that I can remember in the last month, so I haven't gotten in a mow since mid-September. It's the earliest end to a mowing season that I can remember since becoming a home owner. The lack of rain has also wreaked havoc on my fall backyard fescue overseed, but we'll rally and live to fight another day. Regardless of whether we have grass or not, the 2023 wiffle ball season will kick off as scheduled in the spring! 

Thanks for another great season of TNML. I'm already looking forward to hitting the recruiting trail and reconvening for Season 3 in April! 

Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.