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



"…I believe in what I can’t change
in a hard lesson learned
and the strength from my pain…"


Of the Chapman's I learned of faith.

Faith in family and friends.

Faith in yourself.

Faith, in faith.

Two months to the day that I filed that story, I needed every bit of those lessons.

While standing backstage at the B.A.S.S. All-Star my doctor called me, told me a test for prostate cancer, my PSA, came back high, "…high enough to indicate cancer of the prostate."

A week or so later, a biopsy confirmed it.  I had cancer growing inside of me.

I write this story of the Chapman's…not for Bobbi, not for Brent.

I write this story of the Chapman's,

for me.

For you.

I write this story of the Chapman's…for my good friends, the Howells…Robin and Randy, who give so much to others, and ask nothing in return

Faith in each other.

Faith in family.

Faith in, faith.

They run a wrapped boat called, HOPE.

It is wrapped in faith.  Faith that the greatness of mankind, the goodness of fellow man can make up for the horrors that some do to others.

My friend Randy lost the last tournament  of the regular season about an hour ago by 6 ounces…that comes out to 1 ½ ounces a day.

That's how much a #2 pencil weighs.

That's about how much a slice of white bread weighs.

It was, $12,500 AN OUNCE in the payout column.

Right now, Randy and Robin and their two children, Laker and Oakley sit in their RV…two RV's over from Barb and I in our RV.

Between us, parked in their 5th wheel, are Bobbi and Brent Chapman.

I write this story, not for the Chapmans, but for my friends the Howells…and for the night they will have tonight…and for the nights they will have during the off season.

The nights filled with, what if's.

What could have been, for but 6 ounces…plus one.

Faith in family.

Faith in each other.

Faith, in faith.

Believe Randy.

Believe Robin.

Believe that the story of the Chapmans, is your story about to begin.

And I write this story, for the unnamed.

The silent Elites.

All those Elite anglers driving thousands of miles back home.

All those Elite angler driving all those miles and wondering if it will be a one-way trip.

Wondering, if they will be able to come back.

Two good friends of mine will be driving for a couple of days, knowing the may not be back.

I will not name them.

I will give them their dignity.

I will give them their peace.

But I will also give them the story, Chapman.

To those driving and wondering, I know your families.

I know you.

I know your faith in faith.

And I believe in you.

Believe in your talent.

Believe in your soul.

Believe you belong.