Professional Gopher

When I was in high school I played soccer and always as either midfield or forward (the positions most likely to be the ones to score), but there was one game where the coach put me back on defense for the second half since a couple of the girls had gotten hurt. Let me tell you what, I threw a fit because why play if you weren’t the one that actually got to score? Looking back at that night I’m still embarrassed by the way I acted (can I just blame it on the fact that I was fifteen?), but it also happens to be one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned. Just because the girls playing defense never were the ones to score didn’t make them or their roles any less valuable to the team. The same goes for the real world, too, I’ve learned.

Fast forward a few years to my first summer break of college coming back home to work for my dad on the family farm. It was the first time I’d been out of school early enough in the year to actually be able to help with planting, and I was given the job of gopher. Basically, all I did all day (and sometimes all night) long was take bags of corn to one field and load the corn planter and then turn right around and run to load the bean planter. It was exhausting, especially because we hadn’t switched to boxes of seed yet and were still using all bags. But whenever I would have a moment where I felt like my being there was pointless, I remembered that soccer game. Just because I wasn’t the one in the tractor actually doing the planting didn’t make my job any less valuable. Without someone there to run seed around like a chicken with its head cut off, the planters would’ve had to stop and sit until someone was able to get it done.

It’s easy to feel like you bring nothing to the table when you’re the one running to get parts, picking up food, hauling anhydrous tanks, going through the entire year’s receipts to get things ready for tax season, etc. However, without someone to go get that part, the combine sits. Without someone to deliver food, the guys go hungry, and no one likes a hangry farmer. Without someone to haul tanks, the tractor stops. And without someone to file things for the accountant, well, I don’t actually know what happens there, but I’m sure it’s not great.

Being a professional gopher isn’t the most glamorous or fun job in the world sometimes, but someone’s got to do it and we might as well do it with pride. Besides, the one who runs to town to get parts also gets to stop at the local Tasty Freeze and grab a milkshake before heading back to the farm so there are some definite perks to the job.


  • Hey Erin, just found your YouTube channel a couple days ago. I’ve really enjoyed watching that and checking out your website. Keep up the good work and best wishes. This post reminds me of a favorite Bible verse when I want to take a short cut or not give it my best.

    Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

    Jarrod Preheim
  • The lesson you learned on that soccer field is what boys sports takes for granted. I called it doing what you are told to do. Title IX was implemented when I was in high school and the boys team coaching staff was livid. Now, 48 years later, we have young women winning conference championships, state championships, a myriad of American Athletic Union teams and finally women in engineering, mathematics and agriculture. It is different coaching young women compared to boys but the outcome is the same. Good citizens and a good future. J King

    James King
  • There’s really no MVP on a team or a farm.And if you don’t normally do certain jobs,especially planting spraying,trucking or combining make it your job to learn these jobs so you’re prepared if for some reason the “first string player” is out of the game you can step in.

    Lyn Wessel
  • This is totally something I’ve had to come to grips with too!! It’s easy to feel like your job of organizing tools and running things around doesn’t really matter- but someone has to do it!! Love your blog, keep it up! :)

    Laura Carlson

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