An article recently popped up on Facebook and because I don’t know the author or the website that ran it, I won’t link to it, but the main topic was that a fossil that was 2.8-million years old had been discovered in Ethiopia.
Lack of familiarity on this subject wasn’t my only cause for skepticism. One thing I did know was that a couple of fossils that likely date back to the same period as the one mentioned in the article were discovered last year.
At the beginning of December, it was announced that veteran golf writer John Gordon will enter the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame, while Bill “Skip” Johns will receive the Lorne Rubenstein Award, presented annually to members of the Ontario media for major contributions to golf.
Both have more crust on them than the products at Aunt Penelope’s Pie Emporium down on Main Street and archeologists routinely have to be shooed away as they try to dust both fossils. Their growls, which I’ve heard several times from both, are frightening, to say the least.
You can read the bios on Gordon and Johns, as well as former Golf Association of Ontario executive director Dave Mills and renowned teaching professional Patty Howard, who are also being honoured on Wednesday, May 4, here.
As I mentioned a year ago when Garry McKay of the Hamilton Spectator won the Lorne Rubenstein Award, it’s good to see a guy like Johns who put so much effort into covering one particular region within a province or country get recognition for it.
Certainly, people Johns covered as juniors in that area still recall opening the pages of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record and reading his contributions to not only golf, but other sports, as well.
Gordon had a wider audience with ScoreGolf, the Toronto Sun, National Post, Sportsnet and other outlets, as well as serving as a golf executive. At least we know from his days as an administrator that he’ll at least have a tie to wear to his induction.
The inductions of Johns and Gordon come in a year that Bob Weeks, likely the most high profile media guy in the country, was named to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. To listen to an interview I did with Weeks after his nomination, click here.
So, quite a few media guys are going into halls of fame and while it won’t be like that every year, what’s happening now may be an aberration if the supply of media begins to diminish in the upcoming years.
That’s not to say there aren’t young media people who would be hall of fame considerations if they kept on the current path they’re on, but will the industry – media, not golf -allow them to stay on that path?
There is no definitive answer at this point.
With so many golf-specific writers/columnists or even those who cover the game regularly disappearing from newspapers, it’s little wonder media takes delight when it hears McKay returning to the Spec, or Curtis Stock returning to the Edmonton Journal/Sun to write freelance weekly golf columns, or that Brad Ziemer, formerly of the Vancouver Sun, is writing for B.C.Golf.
It’s a bit of good news and perhaps a change in direction from a landscape of fewer media outlets/golf publications for which to report, but if that is the way it’s headed, it would be a slow grind back.
It may be naive to expect that, but the game would benefit from having McKay, Stock, Ziemer, Gordon and Johns continuing to contribute as they see fit and providing room for people in the formative years to make their presence felt.
If that is the case, the media might understand that golf goes beyond the four men’s majors and can’t be summed in a tweet or two. It may even begin to cover golf as it treats other sports such as hockey, baseball, football or basketball.
The reality is, however, there are challenges ahead for the media that the previous generation never experienced and the speed at which things change these days, who knows what that will be and how quickly it will become antiquated? There’s no point complaining because other walks of life and aspects of golf face the same future.
If they can’t adapt to that ever-changing landscape, they could face extinction like the fossil found in Ethiopia.
Should they go beyond the traditional roles that the previous generation knew, they are survivors and even more will become hall of famers just like the fossils going into the Ontario hall this year.