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Keeping up with the Jones: Wish we were there

By |  February 18, 2021 0 Comments
Seth Jones and Julio Diaz (Photo: Seth Jones)

Seth Jones and Julio Diaz (Photo: Seth Jones)

I was reading Mike Kenna’s new column (“Thank you is not enough” ), where he gives an acceptance speech for the honor the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) bestowed on him, the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award. What an honor! I thought to myself how cool it is to have someone like Mike on the Golfdom team, which made me think of how the partnership came to fruition in the first place.

It was during a breakfast meeting on the last day of the 2020 Golf Industry Show (GIS), that a mutual friend recommended Mike to me.

That got me thinking about the other things that came to fruition at the 2020 GIS. A research article by Adam Van Dyke, M.S., CPAg, and Ben McGraw, Ph.D., on the flea beetle (or as I like to call it, Chaetocnema minuta Melsheimer) was pitched to me and quickly accepted, at the Corteva party. I made a dozen new contacts (and a few friends) by moderating a panel at the FMC meeting. Or, even the simple things — my friend Julio Diaz handing me some cigars before heading to the airport to fly back to the Dominican Republic; celebrating with my pal Deron Zendt after he won his second GCSAA championship at the Friends of Golfdom party; a relaxing post-show dinner with my wife at a fancy Mexican restaurant.

The GIS, and before that the GCSAA Conference & Show, has been an important part of my career as well as a memorable annual event in my life. I attended my first show more than 20 years ago. I first got to know the Golfdom guys over a hard-fought foosball match at a John Deere party 15 years ago. The last time the show was in Las Vegas my wife and I brought our then-5-year-old girl and our newborn son, as well as both of our moms. What a memorable week!

2020 was a strange year, but there was one thing that was normal for many of us — thousands of us traveled to Orlando and attended the Golf Industry Show. How many of us will remember where we were in Orlando when we learned of the tragic helicopter crash involving Kobe Bryant and his daughter and seven other friends?

Now, in 2021, we’re all going to miss the in-person version of this event. For many of us, it will be the first time in decades that we won’t sit in an educational seminar, walk the trade show floor or catch up with friends at the chapter party.

How weird is that?

In honor of this show that didn’t happen, the team and I imagined what might have been if we could have all went to Las Vegas this year (see “Viva Las Vegas.”) We do wish we were there. As of this writing, the virtual GIS hasn’t happened yet, but we will be there, though it just won’t be the same as seeing each other in person.

There are things I don’t love about the GIS — rushing from dinner to dinner, not having enough time to see everyone I want to see and the last two hours of the trade show — but there is so much I appreciate about this giant assembly of our industry.

And now that we’re staring down a year without this annual event, I wonder (and worry) about what I’ll miss out on. What story idea would have been pitched to me at the Corteva party? Would FMC have invited me back? Would I have seen Julio? Would DZ have repeated? What lighting strike of a partnership would have come to fruition at a breakfast or over cold drinks? I guess I’ll never know.

But, I do know that it will be more important than ever to stay connected, to share ideas, to pick up the phone or arrange a Zoom. We might not see you in person this month, but we’re still here. So don’t be a stranger, OK?

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