A guest opinion article by Colby Cummings
My child.. Where do I begin?
I guess we need to go back a few years.
Back to when I was around your age.
I tried sports, and it wasn’t for me. I tried other extracurriculars but I still didn’t belong. Then I finally found it. My it was a livestock project. Now from the success you had I don’t want you to think I had the same… It was pretty rough in the beginning.. almost comical at times, looking back on it.
There was the purpose I had been finding, to belong, to have friends, to feel a part of something. Your grandparents saw in me what they saw in the kids that were the struggling kid playing sports, they saw drive. So, I guess if we lay blame where blame is due, lets blame them. They took it upon themselves to give me every opportunity to become better. It was them who carried me to camps, to nutrition conferences, and and association meetings.
We wanted to compete and wanted to win, no different than your friend who went to lineman camp this summer. We surrounded ourselves with a group of people who shared the same outlook that we did, no different than those coaches at those camps that want their child to succeed. That’s where it started. Success happened. We campaigned those cattle as hard as we could and as many shows as possible. Theres a pile of dust on old trophies buckles, and cutouts on top of the memories we shared. This is also the point where it changed, for us and for you even though you weren’t here yet. The friends started separating themselves from us. Phrases like “You guys take this too serious, or not all of us want to compete”, started flying from everywhere. We shrank our circle. We took it too serious to show stock, but you have friends who’s parents get escorted out of a ball game for getting too worked up.
Graduation came and like most, I went off to college.
I couldn’t give up what had become my life, I continued on, but now for different reasons. I was honing a craft, learning from the previous generations of what it took to get where they were. To have what what they had, the memories of those backdrops at the respected nationals, the state fairs, to be seen and respected.
Some of the guys we showed with stopped after high school because they didn’t understand what it meant to like it did me, and like it means to you now.
I worked, sometimes for very little, sometimes for free, but it was to keep learning for something later in life. I have been locked in a blizzard in a clipping room in Iowa in January, I sheared cows, worked sales, torched bulls, worked in the picture pen, and everything else in between.
We kept buying, raising and doing what we knew how to do. We kept surrounding ourselves with the ones that was in our corner and was our family. Your family as I call it stretches all over the country and they think of you like one of their own just like you call them aunt or uncle because that’s what they are.
Then, the greatest thing ever came along, you.
You changed my outlook, my life and what our purpose was in this place. The minute you were born I knew that the legacy I gave you in the barn was for you.
Every purchase, every breeding decision, every calf was for you and what you needed to succeed. Like all the things in life the past comes back to haunt us. Those same people who gave your grandparents a hard time for giving us all the opportunities and chances are now muttering those exact words to me and they have probably made that same comment to you.
No, my child, we do not just do the county fair and no we have bigger goals than those who have said that to you. I understand what your going through, but I don’t want you to get angry like I did. They just don’t see it the way we see it.
Of course we are gonna have fun and yes we are gonna enjoy ourselves, but we are also gonna do whats right because we still have goals to stomp in the ground. Yes, they are going to say things to you that will bring you down, upset you, infuriate you, but its them not understanding why we do what we do.
Don’t let those who bring nothing to the table get your down. They are holding grudges against you that are directed at me. They passed judgement on you the day you were born because you were my child.
Just remember all those that say those things will never get to see and experience what will because of their pride, or their ego won’t get out of their way. You know who is in your corner and who is your support system, never forget them.
There are days you’ll think about what they have said to you or me.
I know you’ll get upset, because I did too. Just work through it.
The same ones who will say or do things to you, will be the same ones who will create rules and go out of their way to beat us, but not the right way. They will do it based off of technicality. They will go out of their way to not beat us in the ring and do it the right way. They will do it with a rule book or by influence. Just remember we will learn how to adapt, and overcome whatever they throw at us. They will discredit your work ethic because it was because of your family that made you win, or your families friends, or because your family has relationships with those in this awesome industry all over the country. Keep your chin up. Keep working. Keep living. Like one of your many uncles will say “we just gotta out feed, out fit and out work them”
Its not your fault they won’t see it the way we see it. Its not you they are mad at. For some, its just easier to lay blame on things that won’t change the outcome but for them they are solidified in their reasoning for what they say and do because of the past. We love this industry, we love these people and like anything else in life my child, you’ll get out what you put in. The friends you make in this business will be the ones you can lean on, to vent to, to grow with. I promise those will be the ones you will fall back on.