2012 Elite Series Ramada Championship Oneida Lake - Syracuse, NY, Aug 23 - 26, 2012


Don Barone
It's not the footsteps you leave, but the path you take.

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.

"Tell me about something,

tell me about something you believe in…"


Dateline:  The Shores of Brigadoon

It is not what we take away,

but what we leave behind.

It is not the footprints,

but the path.

Above all.

It is not what others tell you,

but what you believe.

It is not the laughter that makes us who we are, it is our tears.

No one else will believe in you, if you don't.

If the universe comes for me, piece by piece, I will be okay, I will survive, until the day it takes my imagination away.

Will be fine, until the day my ability to believe, goes away.


Not like, nor want…believe.

Believe that the yellow hue of buttercups under your chin means you like butter.

Believe that a red nose lights the way for a sack filled sleigh.

Believe that 99 men can chase their dreams from lake to lake throughout America.


Believe it because I have watched them catch,

those dreams.


"…and I believe in the voices out here
telling me to hold on but let go of my fear…"


I knew their tears, before I knew them.  I saw her makeup run, before I knew what she was made of.


Bobbi Chapman.


The wife of Brent Chapman…the 2012 Angler Of The Year.


It was June of 2011…just 14 months ago, when Bobbi Chapman broke down behind the Bassmaster stage.


In a river of dreams, it was a tiny tear that stopped me cold, that haunts me today when I read the opening of what I wrote, just 14 short months ago in the story, "How Fragile We."


"And I stood frozen.

From a whisper, came, "db … "

And I stood frozen.

Until I saw her shaking, and then I took two steps and grabbed her arm and I told her in the softest voice I could bear, "It'll be OK," even though I didn't know what "it" was, or if "it" would in fact, be "OK."

But deep inside of me, this I knew, for many of us standing backstage at the B.A.S.S. weigh-in, how fragile we …

… as the bags holding dreams inch closer to the stage.

… as friends and loved ones grasp the handles of livelihood.

… as the financial future of families are measured by the ounce.

And all I could say, as her arm trembled under my hand, all I could say was, "It'll be OK," as I hoped the tears would stay trapped behind the Costas.

My sunglasses.

Because as I looked at her and saw the tears run down her face.

I knew, that Bobbi Chapman, was crying for many of us.

How fragile, we."


The Chapman's, Brent and Bobbi, at the time were one tournament away, from being…done.

You could see the end of their dream, from where we stood.  To be honest, I thought that if I saw them at all during the 2012 season, it would not be backstage, but up in the stands with the other fans.

Alone in a hotel down south, I wrote their story, tears staining my shirt, tears making puddles between the "V" key and space bar.

As they told me their story, the one thing they kept saying over and over again, was how much they believed in each other, believed in their family.

Believed in God.

I listened, believed some of it.  But down deep, thought they were goners.

Believe in each other.

Believe in your family.

In your faith.

Wrote it down, I did, took it to heart, no.

As a reporter I have been witness to the fires before, so close to the flame out as to singe your soul.

Close enough, to see the dreams disappear in the smoke.

I remember I wrote the story, filed it with B.A.S.S, then stepped into the hotel shower, leaned my head onto the wall below the shower head and stayed there until the water cascading down my head and back, went cold.

Hoping that the freezing soap suds would turn my soul cold.

Watching as tears and snot went down the drain.

Along with the Chapman's career.