"It's not always easy and
sometimes life can be deceiving ... "
Dateline: In A Crowd
I was born a people.
I still am a people.
Me being a people is why I write about people. It's that circle of people thing.
As long as there are people around, I don't need TV. The best entertainment on earth is probably the people standing right next to you. You get to people watch, and there's no cable bill.
My first news director, in a fit of frustration, asked me, "So what is it that you do like to write about."
Boss: "What kind of people."
db: "Well you know, the kind of people who are, you know, a ... PEOPLE."
My TV reporter contract there wasn't renewed.
If you know me, or even if you don't, you know, or maybe you don't, that I don't yell much. If you ask my wife, Barb, most of my yells occur around nails and hammers, and Buffalo Bills games.
I did yell at a boss once, and in the few minutes between him being my boss and me being his ex-employee, I wrote down what I yelled. Again I was asked what it is I want to write about and I shouted this in the newsroom:
"I think that somehow while we are covering the human race we have left the humans out of the race."
Me and two other reporters in the newsroom wrote that shout down. I saved it and put it above my desk ever since. I don't know what the others did with theirs. I hope they are writing about humans.
I don't write about boats, I write about the people in them. I once was sent to do a car story, and only wrote about the dude driving the car, in fact, forgot to mention what kind of CAR it was he was driving.
I didn't have a long automobile writing career.
So, while I'm out here following around the Bassmaster Elite guys, I don't, you know, do much looking at the, uh, fish.
I hang out with the people of BASS.
The family BASS.
Last week, Elite angler Jared Lintner was involved in a car accident while driving from the Delta tournament in Stockton, Calif., to the Clear Lake tournament.
Upon hearing of the accident, the people of the family of BASS, stopped what they were doing and came to Jared's rescue.
Those humans, in the human race.
" ... I'll tell you one thing,
it's always better when we're together"
The wife report
I didn't get the police report ... I talked to Jared's wife, Keri.
At a dinning room table in a rented house, Keri told me that there is a long history between her and Jared. "We knew each other in Elementary School. In fact both of Jared's parents went to school with my father."
They started dating in 1990. I was polite and didn't ask Keri exactly how far removed that was from Elementary School, mainly for my benefit of not feeling really old. Love happened, and they were married in 1995. They have three kids, and quite possibly pets.
For the next few minutes while you read this, whenever you see quotes, that would be Keri talking, I just wrote stuff down, didn't talk.
"Normally I drive behind Jared, for some reason this time I was in front of him, but I could see him in my rear-view mirror. I had just told him I loved him and he told me he loved me too, and we took off to Clear Lake."
"I had just passed an exit on I-5 and lost sight of Jared behind me, but I figured he would catch up to me soon enough ... and then my cell phone rang."
It was Jared. And this is exactly what he said to Keri: "I just rolled the truck and boat."
"I knew it was serious, because his voice cracked when he said it."
Keri had just passed an exit so she had to go a couple of miles before she could jump off I-5 and head back ... her young daughter, Allese, sitting in the front seat with Keri had heard what her dad had just said, and was getting more and more upset by the mile.
"I finally got to an exit and pulled a U-ey, and headed back to Jared, as we passed by the accident I could see the truck and boat all tangled up in a ditch and, you know, my heart sank."
"I hit the next exit and started heading to him but by that time the traffic was all backed up, so I started driving down the shoulder of the road but the 18-wheel trucks started to block me from passing them, so, I just stopped, put the SUV in park, and got out and ran down the highway to Jared .... and JC."
"JC" is Jared Christopher Lintner, Jr. ... 8 years old, third grade, and in the truck with his father Jared.
"When I got there both Jared and JC were standing by the truck, so I was really happy to see that, but as soon as JC saw me he broke down, so I took him back to the SUV, wrapped him in a blanket and just held him."
Jared and JC pretty much just had bumps and bruises. JC was checked out at a hospital and released. I had a chance to talk to JC about the accident, the next two paragraphs are his.
"I was freakin'."
"I hit my head and sometimes now have some weird pains, but I was freakin'. I saw the boat fly by as it flew off the trailer. But the moment we stopped spinning around and came to a stop my daddy got me out of the truck."
Actually, Jared did more than that. From Keri:
"Later that night as we were sitting home talking about the accident, Jared told me that once they got hit and started spinning that he reached over and un-did his seat belt and then threw himself over JC to cover him up to protect him from getting hurt."
The human, in the human race.
"Circle The Wagons'
Within moments of the accident, the family BASS came to the rescue.
Tilly Davis, wife of Mark, was standing next to Marty Stone when he got the phone call from Keri telling him about the accident. Marty and Jared room together on the road and Marty told Keri, "I'm on my way."
Tilly got on her phone and called Shirley Brauer, Denny's wife, and Jennifer Lowen, Bill's wife.
Shirley Brauer has been on the road with Denny since 1984. "When something happens everyone pitches in to do whatever they can do to help out."
Jennifer Lowen was the one who got the call from Tilly. "It was like somebody ripped my stomach out, but out here you always have someone you can count on."
So Jennifer started "texting like mad to other wives."
One of them, Julia Kennedy, Steve's wife, jumped into their truck and headed to the accident scene and started helping search the area for fishing and personal items. "I started to put them in the tailgate, batteries and things, and started to pick up tackle so it all wouldn't be lost."
Julie Roumbanis, Fred's wife, also got a text and then she became the switchboard operator relaying messages from one wife to another, one angler to another. "Fred called me and said, 'Don't give Jared a reason to quit, get your girls out there finding stuff.' He wouldn't be able to quit if we could get him back in the water real quick."
Keri Short, Kevin's wife started the search and began "collecting rods, reels, tackle, anything to get him on the water. I just started making calls and told the people it's time to circle the wagons and help one of our own."
The humans, in the human race.
The Boat With No Name
Jared is in Clear Lake.
Jared's boat is in Lodi ... pulled out of the ditch and towed to a garage there.
Jared is in a tournament.
Jared's head wasn't.
Keri: "Monday was a real tough day for us. The insurance people kept calling Jared while he was out on the lake and he could hardly get any practice in. He called me and said he should just come in and I told him, that was alright, we could maybe just have a nice lunch, relax, try and get by this as a family, and I told him that would be fine with me ... but he stayed out."
"And then he caught a fish."
Slowly, Jared came back.
Cast by cast.
Fish by Fish.
The man who delivers milk to stores and restaurants near his hometown of Arroyo Grande, Calif., in the offseason so he can make money to fish the Elites ... came back.
And was out there competing today.
Four days after his life went spinning out of control on California I-5.
As I stood on the dock I waited for Jared to come by at the launch this morning. He was in the third flight out, boat 60-something.
Sixty boats floated by me, all of whom were brightly wrapped with the logo's of sponsors.
Jared's boat was naked.
It was a boat donated for this tournament. Some angler's personal boat. A regular guy without sponsors or fancy boat wraps. It was your average-Joe's Bass boat.
Keri: "We have a boat for this tournament ... as for the future, we are just going to take it one tournament at a time. I'm just happy that my whole family is safe, and massively grateful for what I call my Bass Family, and everything they have done for me."
But as I took a picture of Jared as he went by in the Boat With No Name it dawned on me that there is something that Jared needs to know.
His Boat With No Name ... has plenty of names.
The names on your boat Jared are: Tilly, Shirley, Jennifer, Julie, Julia, Fred, Kerry and dozens of others.
In fact Jared, your boat is indeed wrapped and sponsored.
By the humans, in the human race.
Don Barone is an award-winning outdoors writer and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Guild of the U.K. You can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com.