Olympic Golf Can Wait A Year

Canada First to Call Off Olympic Games

As a citizen of the south forty from Canada’s south forty, I’m beginning to think that the human being has more functional sense as it moves north into cooler temperatures.  A short time after Canada excused itself from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are now postponed, complaints from Florida began to pour in. Apparently, this foolish coronavirus thing is making it nearly impossible to get a tee time in the vacation state.

Perhaps Florida is undergoing a more acute craving of its statewide pastime as an antidote to viral anxiety, but the prevailing symptom of golf mania appears to be a bout of magical thinking. Those of us who play golf for fun are concocting ways to keep playing, listing what and what not to touch, and taking the availability of  open country afforded by the game. However, as Canadian golfer Alena Sharp reminds us, Olympic golf, much like pro golf, and very much like Florida golf, is another matter entirely.
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I have never played before a gallery in a high-profile event. I live in a rural setting where golf can still be a quieting, soothing and solitary pastime. I have, however, spent time in Florida, and behind the ropes at pro tournaments. To hold such events right now is nothing short of nuts. Now, take Sharp’s recollections of the Olympic Village in Rio, multiply it by ten, and one will immediately see that it’s mega-nuts, bordering on the stupid. The term my mother reserved for mega-stupid was “stoopid,” meaning “stupid with two ‘os.” The shoulder to shoulder existence, the interaction between the teams of one country and a hundred or so others makes an Olympic participant as vulnerable as they might be in the middle of New York City, or worse. Bringing together the game’s devotees to sit in the stands from most of the globe’s counties is a recipe for virus stew. Yes, a great deal of money and convenience is at stake, but I’m pleased that one country didn’t bow to it for the safety of its own athletes and world citizens.

Now, if we could just get a little of the same right mind going in Florida. It’s already more humid than it should be for human habitation, sitting on a disappearing swamp as it does. An undercurrent in southernmost thinking has produced a “shangri-la” complex to which Floridians are turning a blind eye. This is not Lost Horizons, and no one protected by staying within its borders. At times, southern Californians are stricken with this,  but it’s usually a little more seasonal.
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We are actually having conversations in my country about the elderly being happy to sacrifice themselves for the economy. Lives apparently do have a market value in our era. I would not be surprised to hear some venture the same opinion for saving the golf industry and keeping American golf courses humming by having the elderly go it alone. I don’t know where the turning point was reached, but the Olympic incident reveals it.  In the states, we seem intent on continuing a normal daily schedule without alteration, because those are the things that make “me”…”me.” Fortunately, other places in the world still realize that these are things that make our lives more beautiful, and keep us in contact with nature, the world’s and our own. However, they are not what make “us”…”us.”

Some late careers will be lost by postponing the Olympic Games. I’m sorry that those few will not get the last shot they’ve worked so hard for. In golf terms, careers wane a little more slowly, and adjustments made to the changing body should be doable over the extra year. Canada’s sensible take on the matter was seconded by the Japanese, who with the Olympic Committee, made the change. The result, instead of going to Tokyo under duress and have a large part of the world get sick, we’re still going to hold the event, and enjoy it a lot more.

Everybody seems to be getting it, now that it’s done. Now, if we can just find Florida a vaccine against too much blue water, sunny skies and pristine fairways, they should all be fine in a few weeks.

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