I never gave much thought to my 65th birthday, mostly because I have no immediate plans to retire and partially because I still have the occasional delusion that I’m still in my ‘20s.
Yet, when it took place on Monday, it was different from any previous anniversary of my birth. Actually, this coronavirus pandemic made it just like any other day in quarantine, tapping away on the very keyboard I’m using to deliver this contribution.
We had planned a family get-together that was not only focused on my 65th. One brother in law’s birthday falls a day before mine and another’s falls the day after and he turned 70. His daughter/my niece celebrated her birthday on Thursday and she’s been working as a nurse on the front lines of this pandemic.
A couple of weeks earlier my mom celebrated her 96th birthday, like the rest of us, in quarantine, so the celebration has been put on hold indefinitely.
That also means I missed the opportunity to visit with the grandbaby my daughter and son in law gave me last May. Add to that the fact that, if restrictions continue, I probably won’t see her on her first birthday, at least not in person.
Just before my birthday came the tragic events in Nova Scotia that hit all Canadians hard.
I’ve been playing golf in that province since long before Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs grabbed the attention of the world and grieve along with its inhabitants who have shown such hospitality over the years.
After all, we’re all in this together as the current saying goes and there’s greater things to worry about than an old fella becoming a rookie at being a senior citizen. Besides, I received and appreciated several birthday greetings on social media and do Facetime visits with my grandbaby.
In the meantime, GNN hasn’t shut down in this pandemic because I’ve always worked at home, but the same can’t be said for most of the Canadian golf industry, with the exception of golf courses in B.C. that are open for business.
Lost jobs and lost revenue are understandable reasons for people getting antsy about the current state of the world. In golf, there’s a passionate argument going on social media and now mainstream media about why courses should or shouldn’t be open during this pandemic.
As a matter of fact, it’s getting a little too passionate and a lot edgier with insults creeping into the debate from both sides.
Everybody is entitled to their opinions, but in this case, what’s the point of engaging in a long-running, heated argument in public? Several golf industry groups in various jurisdictions are pitching their belief that the game can be played safely with social distancing precautions in place.
In the end, however, it will be provincial governments who make the call in consultation with health authorities, about whether golf is part of a first phase in a graduated return to normalcy as Saskatchewan did on Thursday and it’s important that they get it right the first time. There’s been enough illness and death.
So, instead of pointless debate, why not use a social media message, text, phone or e-mail to check in on somebody who has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, somebody who has lost a job, struggling financially or just having trouble coping with an uncertain future.
Me again !????????♀️
— Jacklynn Miller (@JacklynnMiller) April 9, 2020
In recent weeks, GNN has run stories about golf professional Jacklynn Miller calling out PGA of Canada and other colleagues [above] to help in her drive to raise money for Food Banks Canada and superintendent Anthony Angelis donating and sourcing PPE for a local long term care centre.
Those are just a few of the ideas out there and I’m sure there are other community-minded efforts that will be remembered now and after golf comes back.
It’s more memorable when a person or organization inspires rather than incites.
Doing something for others is good for the soul and good for business in a challenging time when one day, even your birthday, doesn’t seem much different from others.