Thursday Night Mowing League: It's Time For Mowing To Be An Olympic Sport

Commish report:

As I type, the Olympic Games opening ceremony is going on over in Japan and all I can think about is how mowing should be a sport included in the Games, even if it's just a demonstration sport. If rhythmic gymnastics can be in the Games, there's no reason why mowing shouldn't have a spot. Imagine competitors having 20 minutes to complete a mowing masterpiece. Each person gets a quarter-acre of turf and off they go. Mowing judges from around the world grade the performance on a scale of 1-to-10, just like they used to have in gymnastics -- yes, the Russian judges would give American competitors 6.5s even if they turned in 10s.

NBC shows the first 6-8 minutes as the mowing competitors frantically get out of the gate to lay down some nasties (as TNML members call them) and then the network goes to three minutes of commercials. They come back to the live action and there's Pete from Ames, Iowa going balls to the walls for gold. He has 6-8 more minutes for the rest of his mowing life. Dads are on the edge of their recliners as the sweat pours down Pete's face as Viktor from Ukraine (probably juiced up on PEDs) heads towards the finish line. This is what Pete's worked his whole mowing life for. This moment. To stand behind his 24-horse, 54-inch zero-turn John Deere and hear the anthem play inside the mowing stadium.

Make the call, IOC. Think about the sponsors who'd be in on Olympic mowing. I'm just trying to make you goons even more money.

• I raised the mowing deck last night to three inches. Earlier this week I read a mowing report from Paul Cappiello, executive director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Oldham County, Kentucky, and he explained how you should raise your mower deck as high as it will go -- unless you've invested in a very expensive reel mower. After raising the deck, he suggests mowing once a week.

"Mowing your grass at a 2-inch height actually encourages non-grass weeds and puts your turfgrass at a competitive disadvantage," Cappiello writes.

"Mowing at 4 inches also means you aren’t constantly scalping the lawn, bouncing the blades off tree roots and having to re-sharpen your blade every 20 seconds."

• Gary A. has a great idea that I'll have to run by OutKick t-shirt manager Maxx (yes, with TWO Xs) to see if yard signs are something we can create and sell. It would be a beautiful thing to have a TNML sign next to Jim's Roofing & Siding.

Good morning Joe! It’s tough to articulate the value of being able to identify with a writer covering sports. Thank you for being both a normal human and an exceptional writer.

Ok quick idea for the mowing league: TNML needs yard signs. You know, like the ones local high schools have for sports teams, or local businesses stick in your yard when they do your roof or install new windows. Heck even my oldest got a sign from her school when she finished 5th grade. Anyway, how great would it be to drive through a neighborhood and see a bunch TNML signs ??

Keep up the good work!

Shane B. in Minnesota writes:

Your column is one of the reasons I keep my VIP membership with OutKick. Love being a part of the TNML. Based on the letters and emails I am thinking of it as more of a Thursday Night Mowing Community than league. Paul B in FL makes my point. I live in MN and we have a three-week mowing cycle here so I want to make the most of it.

Anywho to make a long story longer and in this same vein, I have a question for you and the league. I recently moved from my standard city lot to a much larger 2.5-acre lot. With this, I graduated to a riding lawnmower. As amazing as having a beer, I mean cup holders on the mower is it has presented another challenge I never thought of until now. Mowing patterns.

Some are obvious for keeping in line with league rules and not putting grass on the street and driveway, however, what pattern do I use to most effectively distribute the grass when I am unable to bag it?

Commish response: If Shane uses the Paul Cappiello from above he theoretically shouldn't have to bag the grass. It should mulch, lay down, decompose and feed the nutrients back into the soil. That's my understanding. As for clippings in the street, blow them back onto the playing surface if you can do it safely. Experts also suggest getting into a vertical, horizontal and angled mowing pattern and just keep the rotation going.

Roger S. writes:

Had to mow yesterday due to finally getting a lot of rain and my grass was out of control.  As TNML members sometimes we have to stray from the plan to set the standards for the overall good of the neighborhood.

I encountered a chicken snake which means it had to be killed.  I’m sure they serve some purpose blah, blah, blah but if I see a snake and can get a mower blade on it, I’ll cut it up worse than Tony Soprano and Christopher carved up Ralphie Cifaretto. It got me to thinking what other TNML members have had wildlife encounters.  I’m sure the more rural members have lots of stories.  Mine include snakes and moles with attacks from kildeer, wasps, hornets, bees and the worst cicadas.

Might be a good topic to ask one week.

Commish response: Some of you remember the league member who has a gun mounted to his mower. His name is slipping my memory right now, but I'm sure he has encounter stories. Same goes for the Texas crew. Any cougar or bear attacks while you've been mowing?

Let us know:

Thursday Night Mowing League reports:

Tim G. in Ohio is back:

Forgot to send this to you last night. Another 4” cut after getting rained out last week. Got more than 4” of rain the past two weeks to green everything back up.

Ryan S. fired off this gem via the TNML email hotline. Look at the rotation!! As for the mosquitos, Ryan's completely right on that front. They're horrible this year.

I have to admit, it’s been rough the past couple of weeks not being able to play on Thursday due to rainouts. But, the past few days here in NW Ohio have been amazing and today we’re playing grass.

Mixed things up this evening and yes that’s right, the mystery of crop circles has been solved, it was me. Thanks to that FERRIS IS2200Z from Bill’s Implement Sales, straight or curves, that thing gets the job done, fast and crisp.

The downside to all the rain is the influx of all those mosquitoes. So, once again I had to change out the artillery, added a little skeeter shot and the mosquitoes and deer flies didn’t stand a chance.

Finished off the evening with my favorite west coast blonde, 805 and cooled off by the water.

I have to say there's just something about the patios sent in by the Texas TNML members. Glenn W. has this one that makes me want to sit there & suck down several beers, sweat them out, have a few more, tell stories, laugh, maybe eat some pork, baked potatoes, butter, and strawberry shortcake or something like that.

Glenn writes:

Another TNML in the books. Ready for Shiners, Dos Equis and Red Dirt on the radio this weekend in East Texas. One day I will graduate from weedeating to mowing. Her mower, her rules. Keep up the good work.

Kevin J. is team Kirkland Citra Hop Session IPA which means we'd get along real well. I think a case is still like $20 and it's a complete steal.

It’s a beautiful league night here in Livonia, Pure Michigan. Not too hot, just right. My son and I knocked out the mowing, weed whacking and blowing in no time.
Here are the tools of the trade:

Kurtis in Toledo, one of the TNML legends, is back with yet another incredible report.

Two and a half weeks ago, on a Saturday, I walked out of my house, heard the birds chirping and gazed proudly over my freshly waxed lawn that had been groomed to perfection on league night. I had the weekend to do whatever I wanted without being burdened by yard chores.

Over the past two weeks the reality of life set in and I found myself on a Saturday one week, and on a Sunday the next, mowing my grass. It disgusts me to even write that and I literally felt like I de-evolved from a modern human who had this yard situation figured out to a Neanderthal. I even had scrapes and scratches on my knuckles as they dragged the ground walking to fire up the mower on those respective days.

Well, I am glad to report I made it back to league night and it was magical. Mowing your lawn on league night doesn’t feel like a chore. It is enjoyable, fulfilling, a commitment to your other team members knowing you are part of this movement. Glad to be back in the mix!

Rob S. is back in the league after dealing with some real-life problems:

Sending 2 pics today...since Memorial Day weekend our backyard has been destroyed. Took away a lot of the summer due to the pool and deck getting smashed. We have carried on and finally cleared up the pool and smashed deck.

Haven't been able to do much with the backyard so did a different pic tonight of the front..went with the aerial verticle nasty...pre-beach vacation cut..shout out to V554 Husqv..and Stihl fs90r..Stihl br450...thanks for TNML Joe and Outkick..PS got my shirt and hat.

Indy Daryl dealt with the elements in the most comfortable tri-blend t-shirt in his dresser. At least he's humble enough to admit when he's off his game. 

Not gonna lie, today wasn’t the best effort. Felt like on of those old-timey pitchers, on four days rest, goin out to the mound just trying to survive. Maybe giving up a couple hits, a double here and there; but at the same time treading through it. A strikeout here, a double play to end the inning maybe, a pop fly with a runner on third, etc. Low and behold it’s the bottom of the sixth and your team is only down by one run heading into the stretch run.

Between a mow this past Sunday, returning to work, wading through a couple hundred emails, three young kiddos, I just didn’t have my best stuff. But I did get the job done!

Ryan B. wants in on the TNML action:

Checking in from Ankeny, IA - sunny and 80 this week. Couldn't ask for better TNML conditions.

Caleb S. writes about his Sunoco mowing fuel situation in Georgia:

Commissioner Kinsey,

The weather made for a great evening to mow in North Georgia. I hope everyone else found the conditions as favorable. Two of my neighbors thought that as well and were also out mowing.

One next-door neighbor and I have been coordinating out mowing directions in our front yards for 2 weeks now. I’ll confirm his league status over post-mow garage beers next time.

On a side note: due to what I believe is a faulty fuel gauge, I had to stop mid-mow and buy 2 gallons of gas to finish the job (so I thought). The 2 gallons took it from no bars on the fuel gauge, to 90% full on a 8+ gallon tank. I’ve never had that happen, but the job got done regardless.

As always, thanks for your dedication to the league.

Mike from Eagle, Idaho is one of my favorite emailers. He knows a simple fire pit mention -- he's the guy who can burn Christmas trees in his fire pit!! -- gets my full attention. Speaking of that, I need to get a load of firewood for winter. Thanks for reminding me, Mike.

Looks like our “Heat Dome” that covered the Mountain West has subsided a little. After four weeks of 100+ temperatures, we have moved back to our usual mid 90 degree days, which are very pleasant here (humidity is 18%).

Most importantly, my lawn is growing again. Enclosed are pictures of the front and backyards! Stay well brother! Fall is on the way and that means football and fires in the fire pit!

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.