It makes sense during this pandemic to cancel many routine gatherings, such as NHL hockey games, the House of Commons, church assemblies, bingo nights and the Olympics.
I hope physical distancing requirements don’t impact two of my important summer pastimes — field days and golf.
The field day season is just around the corner. There is usually some valuable information to be harvested at field days. You get to meet the researchers, usually see a few plots of what is working or not working and connect with farmers. And for myself anyway, I can come away from a field day feeling I am at least somewhat up to date on new developments or trends in agriculture.
Chances are, as I write this in early April, all April gatherings have been cancelled and there is probably a good chance that May events have been scrapped. And, I’m sure organizers are deciding as we speak what to do about June events.
It’s unlikely I’ll prolong the risk of the pandemic with my golf game — I’ve been practicing social distancing for years on the golf course.
There might be a bit of a gathering near the first tee box, but golfers know enough to stand back when clubs are exposed. After the tee off I am on my own. I hit the ball where few others ever go, certainly nowhere near the fairway — tall grass, shrubs, trees, sand, roadways, parking lots and, of course, water holes are an absolute ball magnet.
I like to think I get my money’s worth during each golf game — I get to enjoy the whole course, not just a strip of short, manicured grass up the middle. My game is very much like a solitary nature walk, narrated by swear words.
One thing that has certainly been happening in the past few weeks of this physical distancing, self-isolating pandemic is a proliferation of conference calls, online meetings, webinars and other means of e-conferencing tools. It is my guess that while this virtual meeting technology has been around for some time, it may become much more the norm for connecting people and committees once this pandemic is over.
There are lots of platforms or apps providing this service, but one brand name that has certainly become popular in my circle of life is Zoom web-based video conferencing. In my regular activities, Zoom is an excellent way to connect with a group of people or committee that would normally meet in person, but due to social distancing requirements would otherwise need to cancel.
Download the app, arrange a Zoom call for a specific time, send out meeting details and sign-in codes to everyone who is going to be involved. Everyone connects, you can see and hear each other on your smart phone or tablet and conduct meeting business and discussions just as if everyone was in one room. Skype calls have tried to do this for years, but there are many weaknesses in the Skype technology that Zoom seems to have overcome. One source described Zoom as “Skype on steroids.”
With my immediate family spread over different households in Calgary, we’ve even started using Zoom calls as a means to connect as a replacement of our more regular Sunday evening family dinners. It’s not quite the same as having everyone in one room or around the dining-room table, but it is a pretty good substitute.
This pandemic has forced us into a new era of connecting (or virtually connecting) with each other. We might as well embrace it. I haven’t figured out if I can somehow Zoom myself into a golf game but let’s be optimistic and hopefully by early summer it won’t be needed.