Growing is hard. And more difficult than the growth is knowing where to draw the line between comfort and growing. Usually, comfort does not breed real growth!
Like a plant sprouting against the weight of soil, or a bird taking flight, and just as an athlete trains for a marathon, progress and growth normally requires fighting against the good enough, resisting the urge to stagnate. Comfort will not encourage growth in itself.
At such an important layout, with some amazing and long-qualified operators, it is a stressful situation being cast into a role that is a leadership role like this. It is uncomfortable and creates anxiety. Why would we do this as part of a hobby?
I will argue that we do it as a service to the layout owner, who is looking to create memories. And we do it as a service to all the other operating modelers that have driven far to come to a good session. We are stepping up, as they say: trying to help by doing what others won't or can't do, for the good of those others. It is not always fun, but it does always feel good to get some of it right.
Doug Watts, a great friend in the hobby and a brother on the road of life, was there - and his quick smile and easy demeanor always helps. Here we are side Tony's model of Frankfort, IN and the big yard there. The smiles say it all!
Good times are good, sometimes as much for the effort we apply as for the experience itself.