For 1 week out of the year, my hometown of Augusta, Georgia, turns into an international sports spectacle. That week is the first full week of April when the Masters Tournament occurs. Many of the best golfers from around the world compete in this first of 4 Majors played each year.
Well, that’s true most of the time. The tournament was not held for several years in the 1940s because of World War II, and last year, for obvious reasons the Masters was held in November without patrons in attendance. They pulled it off, and their television coverage was second only to being in attendance.
Global pandemic aside, last April felt strange and quiet without the additional tens of thousands of people pouring into our community. The 2021 Masters Tournament will be held again in the first week of April with limited patrons in attendance. It’s certainly a trend in the direction of some sense of normalcy—a sense of normalcy that we are all striving to attain.
Golf and SECO
Why am I writing about golf? Well, for starters, I’m an avid golf fan. Secondly, I think this is an accurate juxtaposition with optometry meetings because we have another event in April 2021 (one I will be attending): SECO International. SECO will be held as a hybrid meeting of sorts. By that I mean there will be a significant virtual part of the meeting. In fact, at least 1 of my courses is slated to be broadcast online while I give it in person. It’s this type of thinking that will bring us all “together” sooner.
The ODs I have spoken with who plan to attend will be fully vaccinated by the time the end of April rolls around. Additionally, the Georgia World Congress Center is big—really, really big. It seems as though our new normal will be, for the time being, a consummation of the old and the new. Will we ever be again neck and neck in the hallways, lecture halls, restaurants, and bars at our meetings? Of course. Will that happen tomorrow or in the next week? Of course not. However, we are trending in the right direction.
I urge everyone to stay safe and continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as they evolve. In addition, I urge everyone who can to get their coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination. I am not a viral epidemiologist, but the more people get vaccinated, the better chance we will have to build toward a sense of how things were. Remember those times?
Stay safe, and if you are attending SECO, flag me down for a safe and socially distanced air high five