There was a nice post on Twitter I came across recently by a young woman extolling the joys that working from home has had on her life. She wrote of all the time she’s been able to take back for herself; the hours once reserved for a commute that she’s utilised elsewhere. There was the morning yoga and meditation sessions, her lunch hour split between a walk in the nearby park and dinner prep; her evening’s no longer burdened by her late arrival home from work on top of her head.
It was a nice consequence of the Covid nightmare, respite from the gloom, but then I remembered where I was and true to form, the comment section proved to be another swamp in the Twittersphere, filled with envious finger tapping trolls telling this girl where to go because ‘I don’t have the luxury of working from home so neither should you’.
We’re all in this together, don’t you know. Still. More than a year on… only, when we were all in this together clapping kerbside for our front line workers, it was a positive call to arms – a show of unity against a deadly disease most of us knew little about. These days when someone’s spouting on about how “we’re all in this together,” what they’re really saying is that we’re all in the gutter here, and don’t you dare climb out of it because you’re a traitor if you do.
So why the shift in mentality? I look no further than the Irish Government, obviously. Rather than think critically and assess certain sectors of the population on a case by case basis, they’ve lumped everything together and shut it all down, regardless of risk. Anyone seeking preferential treatment is selfish, whether it’s warranted or not. A culture has been created; one of, ‘if I can’t have something, you can’t either. We’re all in this together, whether you’re Joe Soap, Bob Hope or the reigning Open Champion’.
Yes, even Ireland’s favourite son Shane Lowry isn’t immune to the virus of begrudgery sweeping the nation. Lowry received his first dose of it on Sunday night, for speaking his truth post-round at the Masters. Frustrated that his caddie ‘Bo’ Martin and coach Neil Manchip had to fly home and would likely not return Stateside due to new mandatory hotel quarantine measures in Ireland, Lowry expressed his disappointment that he’d be losing a good chunk of his team at a crucial time of the season.
“It’s pretty s*** for me, to be honest, because I know things are tough for everybody at the minute, but my coach and my team are going home tomorrow, and I probably won’t see them until the Open,” Lowry lamented. “It’s not great, you know, because I want them over here for the big tournaments, the PGA and the US Open. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. Maybe there will be exemptions or something. I have no idea.”
Cue, ‘how dare he! He’s lost touch with the common man. I can’t play golf and he’s the one giving out. I thought we were all in this together?’
But that’s where you’re wrong. You see, some people have escaped the gutter, and more power to them. Where life has ground to a halt in Ireland, it goes on in many places around the world, so I forgive Lowry for speaking his mind with news still raw that his summer plans on golf’s biggest stage could be set for massive upheaval.
Lowry knows how lucky he is to do what he loves for a living – he repeats it religiously in interviews at home and abroad. And like the rest of us, he’s only human. Who among us hasn’t vented at the disaster that has been Ireland’s handling of the pandemic? Of course Shane Lowry has it better than many other people, but that doesn’t mean he’s not entitled to get things off his chest. It’s all relative, and whether or not you agree with what Shane said, this year is a massive one in his career.
Lowry’s made no secret of his Ryder Cup ambitions and he’s within his rights to think selfishly about how restrictions might impede him realising that goal. And besides, when it comes to matters professional golf, we’re not in anything together. Lowry’s on a solo mission to book a seat on Padraig’s plane to Wisconsin, but we sure as hell will all be aboard the bandwagon whether or not he realises that dream.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone at that level of the sport to ponder the notion of an exemption. Both player and caddie are tested regularly. But the flip side of that is I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Bo to have to go through two weeks of quarantine, should it come to that, given the riches on offer should his charge play the way he’s capable at the PGA Championship and the US Open.
We’ve all made sacrifices this past year, Shane Lowry included. I’d be careful to comment that yours have been any greater than others. There’s always someone in this life who has it worse.
Matsuyama Masters Augusta + Is the Irish Open in doubt?
Listen to this week’s Irish Golfer Podcast