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The British Columbia Golf Superintendents Association is a society to promote and support the Golf Course Management profession in British Columbia

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President's Message - Fall, 2018

Should you be worried?

The end of my presidency is quickly approaching. As I prepare to exit the chair and make room for the smooth sounds of Jamie Robb, I hope I am remembered for a few things. First, I run a speedy meeting. We start on time, prepared to make decisions because the meetings are an hour or less. Second, I unapologetically focused on our core value “providing networking and educational opportunities for our members”. And last, my messages to you have not been the typical “we are great, our membership is great, our season was great…”. In my opinion, the president’s message should be thought provoking and personal, designed to start difficult conversations and help you realize you are not alone in this journey. I hope you appreciate my final president’s message.

I have to confess, for as long as I can remember I have been a worrier. In its simplest form, worrying has served me well, it has kept me sharp, prevented apathy and has driven me to a certain level of success. However, recent events in my life have moved the needle from worry to anxiety. A quick internet search explains the difference between the driving force of worry and the overwhelming power of anxiety:

1. We tend to experience worry in our heads and anxiety in our bodies.
2. Worry tends to be specific while anxiety is more diffused.
3. Worry is verbally focused while anxiety includes verbal thoughts and mental imagery.
4. Worry often triggers problem solving but anxiety does not.
5. Worry creates mild emotional distress, anxiety can create severe emotional distress.
6. Worry is caused by more realistic concerns than anxiety.
7. Worry tends to be controllable, anxiety much less so.
8. Worry tends to be a temporary state but anxiety can linger.
9. Worry does not impact our professional and personal functioning; anxiety does.
10. Worry is considered a normative psychological state while anxiety is not.

If left unattended worry can turn into anxiety. Our industry has one of the highest rates of anxiety, depression, divorce and substance abuse. Ironically, most of us choose this career because of the lifestyle: a recreation industry with outdoor work that is both diverse and rewarding. However, the unrelenting intensity of this career can be difficult to manage without emotional support.

Superintendents are stepping forward to share their emotional struggles. On September 1, 2018 Jason Haines posted an honest and heart felt YouTube video about stress and the superintendent role https://youtu.be/qylXG7HWwj8. Miranda Robinson, Superintendent of Summerlea GC in Ontario, wrote a brilliant and soon to be published article entitled “Living with Anxiety”. In October, Paul MacCormick and Chris Tritabaugh are hosting a mindfulness retreat for superintendents on Prince Edward Island.

My final message to you is we are great, our membership is great, our season was great…are you great? If you had a turf problem, you would not hesitate to reach out for help. What if you are stressed, worried or dealing with anxiety? You have a network of support all around you, all you have to do is reach out. You are not alone.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Unknown.

sincerely,
J. Paul Robertson
President - BCGSA


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