TNML Commissioner report:
This week I had an OutKick reader and aspiring writer hit me up on LinkedIn asking me how I built my base of followers and how I ran into success on the Internet. Here’s what I wrote back to Jacob:
“Consistency. Hard work. Be interesting, find a unique angle, and then hammer away. Too many people think they can write one thing a week in the beginning and that will magically build an audience. Very few people can do that. Writers better be writing or an audience will go find someone who is.”
And then I started thinking about how many interesting writers we have here at TNML and how their consistency and hard work have made them must-reads for me. It’s not like some marketing genius sat down with Clay and the OutKick senior vice presidents and told them that a mowing league would be incredibly successful and that some random guy in Ohio should be in charge of the project.
Truth be told, a Twitter follower in Georgia concocted TNML on the fly, sent me a message and here we are.
The mowing season will be history soon, but it’s not lost on me how far this project has come this summer, thanks to the hard work and consistency from everyone involved, even OutKick T-shirt Manager Maxx (with two x’s).
Never underestimate how interesting ordinary people can be. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio reading columns from Dale Huffman, who wrote a column per day for 3,000 straight days. That’s right, eight years.
In 1993, Huffman wrote: “I hope the things I have done and the stories I have written have been informative, perhaps entertaining, and in some cases caused a smile or a tear. Occasionally I have lent a helping hand to someone in need, and that has been the best part of it all.”
So keep writing. Keep emailing. Keep communicating. Just because the mowing season is ending doesn’t mean we can’t find some sort of other common ground.
• Cooper in Georgia writes:
Need advice on how to talk to my neighbor about his lawn mowing schedule.
I am a strict TNML member and have only taken nights off when it rains. With that in mind, I have started to notice when everyone around me mows. One neighbor was out on Sun July 4th at 6 pm! I almost had to grab a trashcan to catch my vomit. This is truly un-American. Sunday AND the 4th! A couple of weeks ago I noticed he was mowing ON LABOR DAY! I understand some people have crazy schedules but what do I do with this truly crazy person?
• Advice for Cooper: If you have any previous relationship with this neighbor, it’s time to grab a plastic ring sixer (soft drinks, if that’s how you roll) and you stop by his/her house and wave. The first thing you do is say, “You look like you could use a beer (or Coke®)…followed by…”What in the world are you doing mowing on the holiday?!?” Then you laugh. The ice is broken. It’s around this time when you say, “Boy, I’m glad mine was mowed on Thursday so I could sit back and enjoy the holiday weekend.” The seed has been implanted into the neighbor’s head.
Now, the Labor Day Monday thing isn’t an end-of-the-world sin in the TNML. This is the time of year when we have to take into account that people have hectic schedules with the sports firing back up. The mowing on July 4 is a whole different animal. Completely unacceptable. That’s poor scheduling on the neighbor’s part and unbecoming of a responsible citizen. There better be a very good reason for such behavior.
If you don’t know the neighbor, this is a whole new ballgame. Leave them alone and tell your wife that family is never invited to any function at your house. The neighbor is probably a psycho.
• Official ruling: Patriotic lawn painting is acceptable.
Would this type of lawn painting be acceptable in the commissioner’s eyes? Asking for a TNML friend. pic.twitter.com/dhTNZZ0JAH
— Diesel (@DieselRenius) September 15, 2021
• Darren in Georgia needs advice from you guys:
Thanks for creating this. It’s very entertaining and the answers to lawn questions are cool too.
Speaking of which…
I have a very small area next to my garage that leads to the back yard that is heavily shaded. What’s the best type of grass to grow? I’d prefer sod over seed (BIG FAIL). I’ve heard a few different things but wouldn’t mind hearing from the growing experts @ TNML.
Commish: Great question that I’m sure several league members will be able to answer. Keep in mind, Darren is 30 miles south of downtown Atlanta.
Send in suggestions and I’ll forward them on: email@example.com
TNML member reports:
Let’s start the reports this week with this email from Kelly S. in Texas. Kelly’s father was an original TNML member who promised her a league jersey if she sent in a mowing report. Kelly got her shirt and the rest is history.
I hope you are doing well!
It’s been a busy end to summer here in Dallas, but we’re still keeping up with TNML. My husband is out for the rest of the season with a bad injury (not mowing related), but I’m still finding time to mow each Thursday as we head into fall.
My dad shared your quote about Texas A&M and the “common man” spirit of the Aggies with us this week. My husband and I are both Aggies, so naturally we wanted to weigh in. You’re absolutely right, of course, in that University of Texas fans hire out mowing and yard work. Aggies, on the other hand, are confident in themselves and unafraid to take on tasks that others may judge as mundane and beneath them.
In all seriousness though, it’s one of the reasons we loved going to A&M – the people are genuine and down to earth. Even my boss, a Clemson fan, said Texas A&M was his and his wife’s favorite school to travel to for an away game because the people are so welcoming and friendly.
Anyway, here’s a picture of our dog Charlie enjoying the freshly mown grass tonight. He likes a consistently short cut in order to get the best performance out of his wheels.
Thanks for all the fun that TNML has brought to my entire family. Keep up the good work!
Candler in Georgia, the official TNML beat reporter in his neighborhood, is back and like any strong beat reporter, he went out and asked the hard questions that I posed a week ago. His neighbor Abby was wearing the whitest yard shoes I’d ever seen. I’m talking Costco dad shoes white. I’m talking white like Simon Cowell’s teeth. Candler went out and got answers.
Luckily my sons’ middle school football schedule was kind to me this week. They played on Tuesday night, so I was easily able to take care of a Thursday night mow. I got the work in, but it wasn’t the most important thing I did today regarding the TNML. Last week you likened me to a TNML beat reporter, and I’ve got to tell you, I was honored. I know it’s not a real job, but it’s a fake job that I’m taking really seriously. Today, I had a chance to catch up with Abby, my buddy Robert’s wife, and ask her about her mowing shoes. Last week I sent in a picture of Robert and Abby, and you pointed out that Abby’s mowing shoes looked much too white to have been regulated to yard duty. As it turned out, you were spot on. Here’s why Abby had to say:
“They are actually brand new shoes that Robert gave me for my birthday.” [This is the very birthday that Robert wisely skipped League Night to celebrate.] They’re Nike Air Maxes. They’re not the ones I picked out, but I still like them a lot.”
First off, what a risky dad move by Robert. We’ve all been there. The Mrs. wants something specific for her birthday or Christmas, and instead of just buying what she wants, we try to find a deal. It can really go either way, but it looks like Robert has come through again with the win. He for the shoes for half price, and Abby loves them. He’s on a hot streak!
As far as why she’s wearing her new shoes to mow, it turns out that Abby is like the job foreman on the construction site. You know, the guy in khakis and a polo shirt with a perfectly white, unscathed hard hat. He’ll be in the picture when the job is finished, but he wasn’t doing the heavy lifting. Somebody’s got to mange the laborers.
Abby said, “I didn’t actually do any mowing. Robert handles that, and he’s doing a great job. I do sometimes pull the weeds though.”
Never change, Abby. And wear those bright whites however you see fit!
I had hoped to report on how my new higher mowing setting affected our first neighborhood front yard football game of the season last Sunday, but a good beat reporter knows his word limit. Maybe next time. I do have one question for the Commissioner though. With the season winding down, it’s only natural to start thinking about next year. Have you given any thought to when Opening Day will be in the spring? I know that in the South we have to start mowing a little earlier than our northern friends, but maybe we could treat those early mows as a preseason of sorts until the entire league is ready to start. Maybe I’m too early on this, but I bet I’m not the only one looking ahead to the 2022 season opener.
Football is back and our yards are mowed! What a time to be alive!
@OutKickTNML @JoeKinseyexp Low cut, areate and seed Thursday night. That transitional time of year when you trade instant gratification for the dream of next spring’s beautiful lawn. Champion lawns are made in the off season! pic.twitter.com/y2txEcWJGD
— Tim (@Hornet316) September 16, 2021
Indy Daryl of ‘Do Hard Things’ fame writes about powering through when things got rough during his Thursday mowing session:
Not gonna lie. Today was that day. Today was the day in the middle of mowing that I just didn’t want to continue. I didn’t want to edge the back fence. Or the driveway. I wanted to quit halfway through mowing the back. With the entire front to go…. Not sure if it was the 59-degree morning. The soccer practice I still have to take my son to. Or something else. My heart wasn’t in it this afternoon.
But, did I do it? Did I finish the back? and the front? Did I care about my lines? Did I edge the back fence and the driveway? You’re GOSH DARN RIGHT I did! I pushed through and on the other side man does it feel good. Big shout out to @The Art of Manliness podcast and my new favorite band @Gable Price and Friends for helping me focus and get it accomplished.
Capped it all off with a bit of wine. The vessel out of which I am drinking is an original @eugenesailorstudios pottery. My buddy makes the pottery and man does it look nice and boy is it versatile. Wine today, whiskey tomorrow, and everything in between!
Hope everyone else powered through and is enjoying the fruits of their labor
It’s nice to see new league members step up even as we get into mid-September. This week it’s Brett in Missouri showing up and then dropping a patio fireplace sunset pic on us…off the top rope! What a setup.
First of all, thank you for your column, I look forward to it weekly. I love to see all the yards, equipment, lines and patterns, and hard work that everyone puts into their yards. This is my first entry into the vaunted league, hopefully, I am ready.
Shout out to my sponsors, John Deere (Because nothing runs like a Deere), Kansas City Boulevard Wheat, and Johnson’s and Johnson’s baby powder which has gotten me through the inferno of the past couple of months. Powder up Men!
I’d also like to throw my hat into the backyard fireplace ring if you don’t mind. Nothing like a glass of whiskey and some football on the outdoor TV.
Keep up the good work!
Benji K. in Utah is back at it after a trip to help in Louisiana with Hurricane Ida cleanup. I’ll let him explain what he’s been up to:
Our town’s secondary water for irrigation was turned off at the beginning of September due to the drought in Utah. I’m still tending to my TNML duties, however, without a regular irrigation schedule, the grass is experiencing minimal growth. I did a quick cut to freshen the yard up tonight because that’s just what we do, right?
It hit me a couple of days ago that I should have shared a report of our cleanup efforts in south Louisiana following Hurricane Ida. Being from the Baton Rouge area it is an annual expectation to live through “hurricane season”. My hometown of Walker in Livingston Parish (just east of BR) typically avoids the worst of the hurricanes. Ida was different. The land of my nativity was hammered this time. My schedule allowed for my 11-year-old son, Carson, and I to make the 27-hour drive down from Utah to go and see what we could do to contribute for a few days. We didn’t cut any grass but there were bigger fish to fry.
No one had power, there was a constant buzz from generators, schools/businesses were closed, there were long lines at the small handful of operating gas stations and there was an estimated 8,900 miles of downed power lines in Livingston Parish alone. We worked all day and finished with a cold shower at night.
It is absolutely awesome to see everyone come together and selflessly serve their loved ones and complete strangers after a destructive storm. I’m convinced that this experience was a worthwhile field trip in place of any school work my son may have missed.
Ryan S. in NW Ohio was out there battling with the 7:40 sunset:
Man, you can definitely tell the season is winding down. Started mowing in a t-shirt, finished under the light of an amazing moon in long sleeves.
Thankfully with the recent rain and cool temps, the summer beaten yard is starting to green back up. Laid down some pristine lines tonight, but unfortunately, it was too dark to see them. Think I’m gonna have to invest some lights for this Ferris for these evening mows.
Mike T. in Eagle, Idaho is back at it:
Beautiful weather here in the Gem state. The smoke from Northern California and Southern Oregon has finally blown out and some rain is headed our way from the gulf of Alaska!
Perfect lawn growing conditions, but the irrigation water is off with the current drought, so could be our last post!
Stay well and strong brother!
— Titanic capital (@revengebets) September 16, 2021
— RG | GatorTim16 🇺🇸 (@GatorTim16) September 16, 2021
Matt in Nashville is back and it’s very clear to me that he’s been hydrating his turf. Look at Matt’s yard and then look at what the neighbor has going on. It’s time for Matt to have a chat across his fence:
Let me first offer my sincerest condolences on your atrocious suspension from Twitter. They clearly don’t have a good grip on who is doing good work out in the world. I do want you to know though, that we are closing the season strong here in Nashville.
Yard looking good thanks to some extra watering, and stripes coming together to add it all up. Season end here won’t be for at least another month, but I know many of you are nearing the end of this year’s run.
I applaud the efforts of league members nationwide, and I look forward to closing it out strong here in the South. Let’s move with green purpose towards the finish line boys. Commish needs this now more than ever. And so do lawns across the country. God bless America!
Thanks as always,
— Chris Beckman (@cmbeckman13) September 17, 2021
— Theisanity (@Theis23Aaron) September 17, 2021