Keeping up with the Jones: Hanging up the high tops

By |  February 10, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

Back in college, a group of us decided to put together a city league recreation basketball team. We weren’t good enough to ever win the league, and after a while, we started struggling to get enough guys to show up for games. Eventually, we dropped out of the league.

We kept playing as a group and learned that we had more fun getting 10 to 15 guys together to play pickup basketball on Sundays. We all started growing up, getting married and having kids, but we kept the core together and played for more than 20 years.

As the original guys started dropping off, we replaced them with younger guys. I couldn’t guard the young guys. There were only two of us originals left toward the end, both of us named Seth. Despite playing different positions, we made an agreement that the two Seths would guard each other and take it easy on each other.

The pandemic was the nail in the coffin for Sunday pickup basketball. We never had a formal going away game. We all walked off the court one day, and that was it. I’m glad I played OK on that last day and hit a few 3s. I can at least say I won the last battle of the Seths.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that this was the end of my basketball playing career. And it made me wonder … how many times are we doing something we love for the last time and we don’t even know it?

The last time I went to the Masters was in April of 2019, the memorable Tiger Woods victory. I plan on being back at Augusta in a few weeks, but I won’t know for sure until I’m walking through the gates. It didn’t occur to me in April 2019 … but what if for some reason that was my last trek to Amen Corner, my last egg salad sandwich?

Trust me, if I get back … I will relish that egg salad sandwich, and I think that’s the way a lot of people feel these days about things that went away during the pandemic.

Recently, we hosted the Golfdom Summit again, back at Reunion Resort in Orlando. I remember the moment we decided to cancel the event in 2020. I considered how much work I had put into the event, only to see it all just go POOF! Gone. I remember sitting at my desk, breathing a heavy sigh and then getting back to work. There was nothing else I could do.

Bringing back the Golfdom Summit, which we recap in this issue, was a welcome revival of something that was temporarily on hold. It was such a great feeling to once again walk into a room of 75-plus people, a mix of people I knew and people I was excited to meet. Likewise, I feel excited to get back to the GCSAA Conference & Show after a long time away. It took a year away to make me realize how much I cherish it.

Some things go away, and they’re gone forever, like Sunday pickup. My knees don’t ache on Mondays anymore, but I do miss the rewarding sound of the ball swishing through the net. I’m not totally out of basketball these days — I’m coaching my son’s third and fourth-grade city league team. I can still keep up with the 10-year-olds, at least.

These meetings that are coming back, these opportunities the game of golf brings us? I plan on taking full advantage of these moments because you never know when you’re hanging up your high tops for good.

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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