Recent U.S. missile strikes on Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad remind us that the world is an incredibly unpredictable place. It’s like an aquarium of dangerous cross currents. Differences in governments and political climates define our position in this global aquarium. Are we swimming secure or are we in a target zone for predators? Fortunately, you and I are in an “octopus’s garden in the shade” – the safe zone of the U.S.
We are incredibly fortunate. We have the security to cheer, to celebrate, and to live our lives against the backdrop of the sheer beauty and majesty of our country. Just recently, this was the theme and tone at the Augusta National Golf Course.
Americans from all walks of life turned their attention towards the bright and sunny Masters Tournament. Teeing off in 1934, the Masters has been held almost every year since. (During the political upheaval of World War II, the tournament went on hiatus, beginning in 1943 and ending in 1945. The game resumed in 1946.) Since it’s first round eighty-three years ago, the renowned golf tournament has continued to up its game.
Putting the pomp of the actual game aside, consider what the Masters signals about our nation’s current prosperity. We have the life luxury of devoting time, energy, and money to something that, in the end, is just a game.
Let’s be honest. Golf is a game where we watch folks hit and chase a tiny white ball around a huge course. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased here. Admittedly, I have a complicated relationship with the game. I grew up with a dad that hated golf. He thought it silly, frivolous, and pretentious. My dad never swung a club in his life. So it took me years to set foot on a golf course. And when I did, I felt the camaraderie, the connection with friends on the green, and the magnificence of the game.
Now that I’m a dad, raising four boys, there are few things better than a family game of golf. We get to engage in a sport and be competitive while working together. What other sport can bring so many facets of life together so masterfully?
Reflecting on the Masters and the game of golf gives me gratitude, especially these days, for where we all live in the global aquarium. When we have the option of focusing so much attention on such a modest endeavor (a game!), you see how fortunate we are in life.
Recent numbers show that the Masters generates over $5 billion per year in the state of Georgia alone. Companies today shell out between six to eight million dollars to sponsor the event. The Masters attracts more than 30 million people for the final round. And it also generates 57,000 jobs.
Turning to jobs, you’ve probably heard that the March jobs report was less than a hole-in-one. We missed the headline advertised 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs this month. All things considered, the country was dealing with multiple factors that could have suppressed this number – like the recent blizzard. This event alone is believed to have chilled over 40,000 new jobs. Personally, I’m more inclined to look at recent jobs numbers over a two-month average. If we focus on February and March, we’re looking at close to 160,000 new jobs as the trend.
Job growth and unemployment rates are calculated in several different ways, and it’s good to remember this fact. According to one calculation component, the “Household Survey,” more than 470,000 Americans had a job in March versus in February. This figure is part of the reason we saw a drop in the unemployment rate from 4.7% to 4.5%. We also saw the underemployment rate fall in March – from February’s 9.2% down to 8.9%. So, the real news isn’t as dismal as reported news headlines of the jobs report being a “complete disappointment.” Perspective is everything.
Cover Image: Editorial credit: karenfoleyphotography / Shutterstock.com