Today is opening day of the baseball season. A day, I personally believe, should be a national holiday. I love baseball. The snow has mostly melted and the cold temperatures are starting to recede. Last season’s lament of “Wait till next year” has become the optimism of being in first place, at least for one day. Opening day is about hope and optimism. Spring is about hope and optimism. It’s about a fresh start.
I meet with many people who feel hopeless about their family’s ability to transition a family farm or ranch to the next generation. There is too much water under the bridge. They just can’t get along. There just isn’t enough money to make it work. I firmly believe if people are willing to work for a solution, one can be found. I don’t believe any situation is beyond hope. I believe that we are all entitled to another opening day. Former Dodger Manager, Tommy Lasorda, once said: “No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.” I believe the same is true in farm succession planning. You aren’t going to win every battle. But you don’t have to. You just have to win enough.
Sometimes it takes time trying on different ideas, seeing if they fit. If you get discouraged or give up any time something doesn’t quite work, you will likely struggle to keep going. But just like in baseball’s 162 game marathon of a season, there are going to be dog days of summer where the going gets tough in the transition plan. Where you have a bit of a slump. But keep pushing on. That is where success will be found. Hire a solid manager, in this case a farm transition coordinator. The coordinator will help you know when to bunt or swing for the fences. The coordinator can help make tweaks to the swing that will get you hitting again. The coordinator can get you through the rough spots.
So enjoy the season. Have hope for your team, and have hope for your farm or ranch. And remember what Yogi Berra said: “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”