B.A.S.S. 2012: Showed Me...

Don Barone

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

Dateline:  Seasons End…

What makes the last leaf,


What sits in the soul of the last leaf on the tree.

Give me the strength, of the last leaf.

Give me the courage, to dare the wind.

Give me the will, to hang on.

Give me the wisdom, to know which is more important, to know why,

the last leaf clings,


why, it lets go.

“…showed me visions…”

B.A.S.S 2012, began, for me, where it always begins, backstage.

With the working stiffs, the people who schlep us from event to event, build our platforms for success, clean up our mess.

They are the ones who hang the banners, but whose names never sway above the crowd.

Many of their names, belong up there, champions in what they do, but if I had the key to the auditorium, but if I had the ladder, if I had the wire I would hang a workers banner, and on it, would be one name…


I applauded Chris Lane for his Bassmaster Classic win, and for all the other wins that will come his way.

But for me, this Classic was PeeWee…after 26 years, he would no longer be back stage.

Showed me.

PeeWee showed me that being gentle and compassionate is not a sign of weakness, but strength, you need to be strong, to be gentle.

Inner strength is the muscle we need to build, let free the loving, caring human being inside you.

You are, what you are, be you.

PeeWee, above all, you showed me, showed all backstage this,

never take yourself to seriously,

but take seriously what it is you do.

Which is the soul, of the last leaf on the tree.

“…showed me nightmares…”

Then came regular season of B.A.S.S. 2012, and with it a poolside talk, and nightmare.

At the Bassmaster Classic Elite Angler Britt Myers came up to me and told me how “ready” he was for this season to begin, “it is going to be my year,” he said, or something to that effect it was awhile ago and I’m to lazy to dig around for my notes.

We made plans to get together and talk, and do a story about it.  Those plans came together at one of the first events of the year, at  “Big Show” Terry Scroggins home.

Sitting by the pool Britt told me how prepared he was, and how great the year was going to be.

And then went out in the tournament and finished…last.

Next tournament, about the same results.

But at the time, you never knew any of this…because I held the story, could of used the dudes words of success to haunt him.

But didn’t.

You can’t get to success, without going through failure.

Showed me.

Britt showed me that you can’t succeed, if you don’t fail.  Failure shows us what it is we don’t know.  Failure leads to new ideas, new ways of doing things.

Problems, are good, problems, lead to growth

Dare, yourself.

Take, risks.

Behold the soul of the last leaf on the tree.

“…gave me dreams that never end…”

Then came Brandon.

Elite angler Brandon Palaniuk.

And his first win on the Elite tour.

Brandon, is like an adopted son to me, one of a couple on the tour, and at Bull Shoals in Arkansas he came up to me and said, “If I’m fishing on Sunday will you stay to the end.”

I said, “Yep,” and did.

And he won the shebang.

And the hearts, of many.  

Showed me.

Never take your talent for granted…when you believe you have arrived, you will soon be gone.

You don’t become something, you are already something.

Excite yourself.

It is on the edge, where living happens, life is in the middle, but zest, my young friend, is out there on the edge.

And when you conqueror the edge, you will have the soul of the last leaf, on the tree.

“…showed me light out of the tunnel

when there was darkness all around instead…”

Of all the stories.

Of all the interviews.

Of all the people.

Of all the places.

It is the Central Open in Branson, Missouri, on Table Rock Lake that I will remember the most from B.A.S.S. 2012.

I will never forget all the destruction from the tornado that rocked Branson a few weeks before we got there:

And I will never forget, a quiet young man, Chad Brekke…and the Purple Heart he wore on his hat while he fished the tournament.


Never listen to those who want to limit you.

Life, is a knockdown drawn out fight.

This young man, a medic, a front line medic, went to war for us, went to war to help others on the battlefield.

And got blown up.

How fragile we, that anger happens.

How fragile we, that violence overcomes us.

Showed me.

This gentle, fragile young man, harbors within, the demons we unleash on each other.

This gentle, fragile young man, trapped in a wounded shell.

Every person on this planet is the same, we are all humans here, but we are also, all different.  Different is at our core.  It was Chad, who in spite of his physical and mental wounds showed me that we need to respect difference, need to invent communality, between us all.

That we need to stop the hurt.

That we need to stop doing this to each other.

That instead, we need to sacrifice for others.

That instead, we need to help others.

Which is what is found in the soul, of the last leaf on the tree.

“…showed me ways and means and motions…”

I know, why, the last leaf,

lets go.

I know why, because I want to let go.