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From the Editor: CGSA conference

Feelings are mixed about Quebec trip

February 8, 2018  By  Mike Jiggens

By the time this issue reaches our readers, the Canadian Golf Course Management Conference will just about be upon us in Quebec City. I have mixed feelings about this event.

On the one hand, the CGSA-sponsored function is something I look forward to attending each year. It’s a chance to renew acquaintances with industry colleagues I see only once a year, and sometimes less than that. I enjoy chatting with these individuals to learn what has been happening in their part of the country the past year and what might be coming up in the future.

And then there is the educational component of the conference. For me, this is the meat and potatoes of the event. The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association does a fine job in rounding up a lineup of good speakers who address topics of concern to which superintendents from all regions of Canada can relate. It’s the seed for good Turf & Rec story ideas.  

The keynote speaker is another attraction and a great way to kick-start an event of this magnitude. There’s no doubt former Montreal Canadiens superstar Yvan Cournoyer will have an attentive audience when he takes the podium.

These are the things to which I’m looking forward.

What I’m not particularly looking forward to is the journey itself to Quebec City. It’s not due to a fear of flying. On the contrary, I’ve flown more times than I care to remember these past 24 years during my tenure with Turf & Rec.

It’s just that the last time I flew – a year ago to the CGSA conference in Victoria, B.C. – it proved to be one of the most miserable experiences of my life. There were no issues with the quality of the flight (except that my luggage didn’t arrive on the same flight), but rather the condition I found myself in mere hours after landing on the west coast.

I came down with a horrific case of vertigo that came out of left field shortly after arriving in Victoria. For the three days I spent in the city, I staggered around like a drunken fool, having to latch onto trees, light posts, furniture, walls and anything else I could grab onto every 10 or 12 steps. I was scared to cross the street. While seated, the dizziness wasn’t nearly as bad and I could adequately do my job at the seminars.

Somehow I managed to get through the conference without falling once and embarrassing myself. Of course the drive home from the airport in Toronto proved to be a white-knuckle experience, but one I pulled off without incident.

A doctor’s visit the next day after returning home confirmed my suspicions. He figured the time I spent in the air – especially after having flown to Miami less than a week before – messed up something inside me, leaving me with virtually no equilibrium. With umpteen dozen flights under my belt through the years, this was the first time I ever experienced anything negative as a result.

It took a few weeks for the dizziness to leave my body, but even months afterward I still felt some minor residual effects.

Although I’m seemingly vertigo-free at the moment, will this upcoming flight trigger the same effect of a year ago? I won’t be in the air for nearly as long, and it won’t be the second leg of back-to-back flights.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and perhaps I shouldn’t be letting the mere thought of this get into my head. Lightning can’t strike twice, can it?

I suppose I should be thinking less about the possible consequences of flying and more about how many layers of clothing I’m going to need once I set foot in frigid Quebec City.

Still, it is always a pleasant experience to visit one of Canada’s oldest and most beautiful cities. It has been a long time since the CGSA held its conference in the Quebec capital. Obviously, the association feels a commitment to bringing the conference to its members who reside east of Toronto.

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