Monday, October 22, 2012

So, Where's My Gold Watch?

As our seventh year of competing comes to a close I reflect on how many great times I have had. The friends, the laughs, the whole experience. This experience that just belongs to us, the Competitive BBQer. We can enjoy things that no other person understands. We can say things that would be lost on everyone outside this circle of ours. And we certainly do things that have others questioning our sanity. We've had a lot of you had to be there moments on The Circuit. Moments that can't be duplicated, moments that can't be explained, and moments that put a smile on my face weeks after they've happened. Moments that I'll remember for a lifetime.

As summer gives way to autumn you can feel the change in the air. It is the best time of the year. Comfortable days and cool, crisp nights; perfect weather for anything. It's a perfect time to end the BBQ season. You hit your groove in the spring, you work hard in the summer, and you hope to qualify before autumn hits...because after's too late. It's reminiscent of life, isn't it? Find what you're good at in your 20's, work hard at it through your midlife, and hopefully reap the benefits as you get older. Although I like to think that I am still in the summer of my life, I can see the leaves starting to change their colors. I can feel Autumn's wind at my back; it's cool and crisp... It is a perfect time in life.

In the midst of packing for our 4th Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue, I'm writing this. We leave in a few days. It is always an exciting time of year. A time to reflect on the past season but also a time to look ahead. What will next year hold for us? Will there even be a next year for Lakeside Smokers? Before the leaves start to fall from the tree...I think it might be time for a change. It might be time to readjust, rethink, and refocus on why we compete. Over these past seven years competition BBQ has given Kris and I so much. We have added lifelong friends and made some amazing memories along the way. We have been to places that we would have never gone to before. We've cooked at The American Royal, The Jack, and at The James Beard House because of BBQ. It has even made us a better couple. Getting to work side by side with my wife with one common goal at hand has been incredible. Competition BBQ has given us that. So, why change anything? Just keep on doing the same thing, right? They say doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results defines insanity. But that's exactly what this hobby is. We didn't win at our last comp, but I plan on doing exactly the same thing at our next comp and hope for different results, and for that, this hobby is the most positive way possible. I think at some point, everything must go through a change. I think it's healthy to break up the monotony... Maybe just postpone the insanity for a little while.


BBQ_Mike said...

Mike, I see a lot of contradictions at the end of your thoughts. You said, over the past seven years BBQ competition has given you and Kris so much. What makes you think that even if you were to prepare and cook your entries the same way you should not expect different results? Is it insane to think you could get better? Is there the elusive perfect score for all categories at a single event? I know that is crazy, but it would be another “had to be there” experience that only the BBQ people would get. Getting different results at the next comp depends on the group of competitors at that event. Maybe it is time to venture outside the local area and go against some Mid Atlantic teams, head to Canada or even to some Pennsylvania or Upstate NY events.
Sure things get stale and you are on top. What can be learned to bring your hobby/craft to another level you didn’t realize was there? There are a lot of stories and experiences over the last seven years that came from the New England area and even competing at the Championship events. What other stories, experiences, or friends are still waiting to meet up with Lakeside Smokers? Sometimes the leaves start to turn colors because they need some watering. Bring in some fresh water before you give up on summer! More places to go, more good people to meet, more unexplained experiences that write the stories are out there.
Keep Calm and BBQ On

Lakeside Smoker said...

Wow, you really missed the point of my post.