Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Are you ready you retire from competition cooking?
Retire? we are just getting started...........
There was an interesting post on the BBQ Brethren Forum last week that asked the question, are you ready to retire from competition cooking? I read with interest the numerous posts and comments with regard to this very interesting topic.
While I am not ready to retire as of yet, I will say that I intend to cut back a bit next year. This is due to two main reasons, rising costs and not enough weekends. This is our second year of competition. The first year we did 4 events, this year 7, toss in a weekend cooking class and that’s 2 months of weekends blocked out of the calendar. While some may say that’s nothing, I think it’s a lot.
For me, a contest is a 5 day deal. Wednesday, check over the trailer make sure everything is in place. Thursday, go to the store, pick up meats, prep sauces etc. Friday, travel to the contest. Saturday, travel home, crash out. Sunday, clean out trailer, empty coolers, odds and ends, etc. It is a lot of work.
Don’t ask me on Sunday if I want to do another contest, you might not like the answer. But, after a day or two of rest and refueling, I am anxious for the next contest scheduled for our team and busy working on ways to improve our product. Certainly not ready to retire.
We are about to enter into a stretch of 3 contests in 6 weeks, Stevensville, Bel Air, then New Holland. In retrospect, I don’t think this was very good planning on my part. Of course, in March, when planning the upcoming season, our team has been idle since October, causing a bit of fog to enter into my vision. Seven contests, 3 in a six week period, no problem. Bel Air is our home event and we really like New Holland, so my guess is Stevensville will be a one time shot for us, unless they move the date.
We then will go from New Holland at the end of August, to Dover, the season ender, held in the middle of October, another month and a half of down time. Although I am sure that after our six week run, no one will complain about a few weeks off.
One problem I see from a competitor’s viewpoint is the scheduling of events within our region. While we were at Landover, there was another event held just north of here in Yardley PA on the same weekend. The Stevensville date is close to Bel Air. More than likely, this will cause us to skip that event next year. I would think that event planners would try to spread events around a bit to try and maximize the amount of team participation.
I know I am drifting off topic here and for that I apologize. My original point is this competition cooking takes a lot of effort, which is a fact. Planning, competing, cleaning up, all takes time. I enjoy the effort and don’t mind the work. My only concern is the block of time involved, and what gets neglected as a result. My kids are pretty much grown, so its not a matter of running them around. Summer weekends are a prime time to have friends over to eat outside on the deck, enjoying the nice weather and the garden. That would be if my garden wasn’t over run with weeds, another result of my time limitations.
Seven events, 5 days per, that’s almost a month, that’s a lot of time, particularly when you have to work for a living. And I, for one, HAVE to work for a living, not only to pay for this rather expensive hobby, but to keep a roof over our heads. When the wife and I look over a summer calendar, with BBQ, family vacation, a few weddings and other events we are committed to, we have not much time left for entertaining and or working around the house trying to keep things in some order. Although I will admit, the ladder has never been one of my strong points.
So, in conclusion, I guess my point is, time flies when you are having fun. It is almost July 4th and before you know it, Labor Day will be upon us, the significance or point of this rambling post, I have no idea. What I do know is, when you are busy, time moves quickly, when you are bored, time goes in reverse. Am I ready to retire from this crazy sport? no way. Will we cut back next year? Today’s answer is yes, we’ll see what my answer is next March.
One thing is for sure, life is too short to work all the time. You have to get out and enjoy yourself in order to make life worth living. Even if it takes some work to be able to have fun. All work and no play, blah blah blah. I have enjoyed the first half of our season and look forward to the rest of the contests. As for retiring, I leave that for the other guys, just don’t ask me the day after a competition.