Believe Man, Believe
“A little hope…”
Dateline: The last Elite regular season story
Believe man, believe.
Believe not, that you know how to fish.
Believe not, that you know what to throw, and where to throw it.
Believe not, in your equipment, or your maps.
To last out here,
believe man, believe,
To win in this, or any sport, it is not about the ball, the puck, the track, the racket or the pole.
It’s about you, man.
When you look at what it takes to win, dude, it’s all on you.
To win, YOU need to be consistent.
To win, YOU need to have courage.
To win, YOU need confidence.
If you have those three, the football, the baseball, the puck and the lure, will take care of themselves.
Let me make it real simple,
winners, have faith,
losers, have lost faith,
Believe man, believe.
“…when I aint got none at all…”
It is the failures in my life that have got me here, not the success.
I’m going to lay it out here for you because I want you to believe man, believe in yourself.
I lost my first on-air television news job.
I lost the 2nd home I ever bought.
At both events I went into the bathroom, puked, turned off the lights and sat on the toilet and cried. I’m not afraid to say that because it is the truth, and it is a very human reaction, and nothing to be ashamed of.
No shame in sitting on the john and crying in the dark
No shame because after I was all puked out, all cried out I opened the frigging door, and came back out.
Every success in my life came after pain. Came after failure. Just ask my wife, she has heard the barfing, wiped the tears, but she has also put the iron up on the mantle.
I think if you ask Barb how I did it, how WE did it, I think she would say at the very core of my being there is a spark, this light thing that comes on when it is the darkest, and it is this spark that gets me to get up, even when I can’t.
And I believe that it’s this spark at his core that helped Elite angler Keith Poche…believe man, believe.
“…give me light…”
32 years old, from Natchitoches, Louisiana, lives now in Pike Road, Alabama (right near Montgomery, Alabama) single but in a three year relationship with Brandy, went to Troy University, “wanted to be an architect,” two brothers one sister, dad, Burt, is a mechanic, mom, Dimple (and yeah I asked 3 times to make sure I got that right) used to be a Sherriff Deputy.
Truth up, I tiptoed through this story for awhile, I knew immediately it was a story, a compelling emotional story, but I also knew immediately, it involved a nice young man in a crisis.
Right or wrong journalistically, I could care less about making headlines, have had plenty of those, what I do care about are the people in the story.
I believe that you can be a journalist and have compassion, not to ignore a story, but to wait, give the story time to breathe, give the people involved time to right themselves.
And that’s just what I did with this story.
I saw that this year, and last year, things were not going well with Keith on the Elite tour, so at Waddington, the St. Lawrence event, at registration I went up to Keith and asked this, “You alright man.”
Keith looked up at me and all he said was, “No.”
I sat down next to him and asked, “What’s wrong, dude.”
“db, I think I had a nervous breakdown on the front deck of my boat.”
And tears formed in his eyes.
“Do you want to talk about it.”
“I do, need to.”
“Do you want me to do a story about it.”
“I do, think it would help people.”
“Let’s do this, let’s see how this tournament goes, get you in a better frame of mind.”
The next couple of days I watched as he fished the St. Lawrence tournament, he came in 96th place out of 99.
I didn’t bother calling him.
“…up ahead on the journey…”
In 1984, when my daughter Ashley was 3 months old, KFSN-TV in Fresno, California, did not renew my contract, I was out of a job, I went from being an on-air Feature Reporter, to unemployed.
The local newspaper called me for an interview.
Several radio stations called.
Everyone in town I came in contact with asked me about it.
It was my first media job, I was devastated. Barb is still bitter about it, it knocked the bejesus out of us, but I now know, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Personally, and career wise.
I think of that often when I come across the Keith Poche’s of the sports world. I know, that when you are in it, going through that kind of stuff, it is flat out rump burning horrible, but, but it makes you better.
If you survive it.
That’s why I didn’t call Keith, I wanted to give him time to survive.
At registration of this tournament I went up to him and said, “You still want to do the story, it’s your call man, I’ll walk away from it if you say so.”
Keith looked at me, looked down at his plate of food, sucked his lip in and out and said, “Let’s do it.”
So here it is, I’ll let Keith talk awhile:
“At the 2012 Bassmaster Classic I came in 3rd place, it was a huge high, but during that season I missed the first two cuts, finished in the top 12 at Bull Shoals, but that top 12 was the last one I would make. I didn’t make the 2013 Classic.”
“Been downhill since then, db. Started second guessing myself, never in any comfort or peace of mind, I felt like I was in a hole and that just more and more dirt was being thrown on me.”
“This year at Bull Shoals, you know, um, at Bull Shoals…”
At Bull Shoals Keith had a major mechanical failure, “it was pretty much it, the last straw, um…I think I had a nervous breakdown on the front deck of my boat.”
Keith told me, he started to cry and, “when I got to shore and back behind the stage in line to weigh my fish, right there with everyone around, I couldn’t hold it no more, right in line I started crying.”
“…give me strength…”
“I went back to my hotel and got sick, crying, locked myself in the room, I had no money, no confidence, no control over my own destiny, I was making all these bad decisions, I wanted it so bad I was screwing it up.”
I’m doing this interview sitting in his boat as he rigs his tackle, his girlfriend, Brandy is sitting in the driver’s seat, I’m in the passenger seat, Keith is sitting on the deck looking at me, and when he tells me of what happened at Bull Shoals he looks at me to say something, and this is what I say,
I think, I know that Keith got a little bit ahead of himself, maybe peacocked up some after coming in 3rd at the Bassmaster Classic.
You get ahead of yerself, bad things happen, I know I got ahead of myself at KFSN-TV, wasn’t quite the reporter I thought I was, needed that talent to come to me, and with Keith, I think the same thing happened.
Got ahead of hisself.
Cliff Crochet, a fellow dude from Louisiana was leaning on Keith’s boat listening to the story injects, “db I was scared for him, I gave him his personal time in the room, but after three hours, I went in.”
Brandy: “I was calling, just kept calling to make sure he was alright.”
Keith has stopped working on tackle, he just has his head down, listening, I’m hearing what his friends are saying but I’m only looking at Keith.
“Keith buddy, did you get full of yourself.”
Keith slowly looks up at me, over to Brandy, then back at me.”
“I think so…”
“You just got ahead of yourself son…”
“Uh huh, it has humbled me, took a grown man and put him on his knees.”
With that Keith looks over at Cliff, who smiles at him, and then back to me, “You know db, in a weird sort of way, I’m thankful it happened, you know what I mean.”
And welcome back my friend.
“…when I’m standing…”
“I thought I was King Kong or something, I think now it is important to always be humble, don’t be over confident, be confident in yourself, but be humble while doing it.”
As Keith is telling me this, he does so after having made the cut in this last Elite tournament of the season, and as I write this before the day-3 weigh-in he is sitting in 22nd place.
At the last tournament at this time, he was on his way home.
“I feel good db, will go into the off-season feeling good, upbeat this year.”
Keith, my friend, and all you tournament anglers reading this, or anyone facing challenges in sports, or life, talent helps, but confidence wins.
We are all on a journey, we just don’t control or know its destination, confidence is what makes it a pleasant trip.
Confidence in ourselves.
Confidence that the journey, will make us better and take us to where we were destined to be.
Sometimes, we all get ahead of ourselves, King Koning it, false confidence, embrace crying on the front deck, crying in the dark, because that’s the ride bringing you back to the journey.
Of the three “C’s” of winning: Consistancy, Courage, Confidence…it is confidence that makes champions.
Jim Kelly, Hall-of-Fame QB for the Buffalo Bills once told me, “When I throw a pick I’ve forgotten it by the time I get to the bench, the stadium, the crowd though remembers it for years. If I did that I could never throw another pass.”
Cry on the front deck.
Cry in the dark
Cry into your pillow.
But know this,
It means, with confidence, the best is yet to come.
Believe man, believe.
And you will succeed.
Believe man, believe,
“…and faith when I fall.”
Faith When I Fall
Be home soon Barbie,